Light-Driven Sandwich ZnO/TiO2/Pt Janus Micromotors: Schottky Barrier Suppression by Addition of TiO2 Atomic Interface Layers into ZnO/Pt Micromachines Leading to Enhanced Fuel-Free Propulsion

Amir Masoud Pourrahimi, Katherine Villa, Zdeněk Sofer, Martin Pumera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Conventional binary light-driven micromotors, based on semiconducting photocatalysts and metal junctions, have mostly shown limited speed and charge separation/transport due to their not well-designed interfaces. Here ZnO/Pt Janus micromotors with atomically smooth interfaces are introduced, which show fast light-driven and fuel-free propulsion (15 body-length s−1). Furthermore, the speed of ZnO/Pt micromotors is increased by ≈60% with a few atomic amorphous TiO2 photocatalyst interlayers. The new photocatalysts' interfaces, i.e., ZnO/TiO2, provide type II heterojunctions, leading to an increase in the number of electron/hole pairs and then improving the electron transfer to Pt metal. This effective charge separation/transfer results in a faster electrophoretic motion of the novel ternary ZnO/TiO2/Pt micromotors. The concept of the type II heterojunction, which is well known in photocatalysis communities, is used in light-driven micromotors as a new approach and paves the way for the next-generation of faster fuel-free “green” micromotors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900258
JournalSmall Methods
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this