Recently, Prof. Niu Ran from the research group led by Prof. Qu Jinping published her research work entitled " Self-solidifying active droplets showing memory-induced chirality " on Advanced Science.
Most synthetic microswimmers do not reach the autonomy of their biological counterparts in terms of energy supply and diversity of motions. Here, this work reports the first all-aqueous droplet swimmer powered by self-generated polyelectrolyte gradients, which shows memory-induced chirality while self-solidifying. An aqueous solution of surface tension–lowering polyelectrolytes self-solidifies on the surface of acidic water, during which polyelectrolytes are gradually emitted into the surrounding water and induce linear self-propulsion via spontaneous symmetry breaking. The low diffusion coefficient of the polyelectrolytes leads to long-lived chemical trails which cause memory effects that drive a transition from linear to chiral motion without requiring any imposed symmetry breaking. The droplet swimmer is capable of highly efficient removal (up to 85%) of uranium from aqueous solutions within 90 min, benefiting from self-propulsion and flow-induced mixing. These results provide a route to fueling self-propelled agents which can autonomously perform chiral motion and collect toxins.
Link to this paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/advs.202300866