Advanced Intelligent Systems (May 2020)

Photosynthesis Drives the Motion of Bio‐nanomotors

  • Motilal Mathesh,
  • Daniela Apreutesei Wilson

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 5
pp. n/a – n/a


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Autonomous nanomotors have become the new paradigm for current research as they are expected to shift the momentum in the development of next‐generation technologies. However, there is a grand challenge in gaining control over the nanomotors’ motion, speed, directionality, and using biocompatible fuels to power them. Currently, light is recognized for powering micromotors with advancement in using visible light for driving motion at the nanoscale regime. In this context, micron‐scaled motors are fabricated but they contain metal surfaces and fabrication is quite laborious. Herein, encapsulation of plant organelles into supramolecular assemblies for active motion is conducted to fabricate bio‐nanomotors, utilizing the natural photosynthesis process for powering motion at the nanoscale. The oxygen produced by the water‐splitting reaction by plant organelles in visible light and the photophoresis effect due to the transparent nature of the supramolecular assembly are the main driving forces for bio‐nanomotors. The bio‐nanomotors are observed to have propelled motion with speed reaching up to 120.42 ± 12 μm s−1, together with on‐demand reversible on/off motion and real‐time control over change in directionality at the nanoscale. The observed results shift the momentum toward harnessing energy from natural processes to power nanosystems for varied applications.