Photocatalysis: a “Solar Sail” to Drive Microscale Objects in Water

Jingtao Zhang, Weiyi Yang, Jian Ku Shang, Feng Fang, Shuang Gao, Qi Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The capability to drive micro/nanoscale objects is critical in the development of micro/nanomachines for various technical applications. To overcome the chemical fuel requirement limitation on mostly investigated chemical power–based approaches, external energy source–driven approaches are explored. However, they usually require that micro/nanoscale objects should have special properties for their driven motion. For the first time it is shown that light illumination can be utilized to drive various micro/nanoscale objects through the assistance of photocatalysis as a “solar sail” due to its continuous production of chemicals with the driving potential. This approach can eliminate the requirement of chemical fuels or objects with special properties in previous studies, and can have the potential for various technical applications upon its full development to provide precise motion manipulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1700384
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • light-driven motion
  • micro/nanoscale objects
  • nitrogen-doped TiO thin films
  • photocatalysis
  • transition-metal-ion-modified films
  • visible light irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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