Miniaturized motors : self-powered systems for water monitoring and remediation
Moo, James Guo Sheng
Date of Issue2017
School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Environment and Water Industry Programme Office
Self-powered moving motors, which are able to carry out a plethora of operations, is an emerging field that has captivated the attention of researchers. The self-propelled motion of miniaturised motors represents the next step forward for applications in water monitoring and remediation systems. Fuelling the motion of particulates in aqueous environments results in the paradigm change from passively allowing particles to accomplish their work, to highly mobile agents that dynamically manoeuvre throughout the solution. We demonstrate the use of locomotion of motors to move in waters so that they can do work for environmental monitoring and remediation, where heavy metals can be monitored and removed using composite micromotors. Control of these self-propelled micromotors are investigated though the inherent design of the chemical fuels, such as inclusion of water as a co-reactant. The control of their locomotive behaviour of these artificial self-propelled moieties can be modulated though the change of chemical environments by tuning the pH, coupling light sources with photochromic additives, using ultrasonic manipulation with vibration of microbubbles. While monitoring the motion of self-propelled micromotors are of utmost importance, barriers remain in monitoring the motion of these autonomous moving entities due to limits of optical scrutiny. Through the utility of electrochemistry, properties of the micromotors and the environments they have been exposed to are quantified, providing an alternative pathway to independent monitoring systems. Motion of self-propelled devices traversing in aqueous environments, represents an opportunity to probe the environment and a utility to be maximised for pollutant management. We believe with the development of appropriate systems, shown in this thesis, miniaturized motors: self-powered systems for water monitoring and remediation will be realised.