Milli/micro/nanorobots are considered smart devices able to convert energy taken from different sources into mechanical movement and accomplish the appointed tasks. Future advances and realization of these tiny devices are mostly limited by the narrow window of material choices, the fuel requirement, multistep surface functionalization, rational structural design, and propulsion ability in complex environments. All these aspects call for intensive improvements that may speed up the real application of such miniaturized robots. 3D-printed graphene-based smartdust robots provided with a magnetic response and filled with aluminum/gallium molten alloy (Al/Ga) for autonomous motion are presented. These robots can swim by reacting with the surrounding environment without adding any fuel. Because their outer surface is coated with a hydrogel/photocatalyst (chitosan/carbon nitride, C3N4) layer, these robots are used for the photocatalytic degradation of the picric acid as an explosive model molecule under visible light. The results show a fast and efficient degradation of picric acid that is attributed to a synergistic effect between the adsorption capability of the chitosan and the photocatalytic activity of C3N4 particles. This work provides added insight into the large-scale fabrication, easy functionalization, and propulsion of tiny robots for environmental applications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the project Advanced Functional Nanorobots (Reg. No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the EFRR).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)