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Chin. Phys. B, 2021, Vol. 30(11): 114702    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ac2727

A composite micromotor driven by self-thermophoresis and Brownian rectification

Xin Lou(娄辛)1,2, Nan Yu(余楠)1,2,3, Ke Chen(陈科)1,2,4, Xin Zhou(周昕)1,5, Rudolf Podgornik1,2,5,†, and Mingcheng Yang(杨明成)1,2,4,‡
1 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
2 Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics and Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China;
3 Institute for Advanced Study, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China;
4 Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory, Dongguan 523808, China;
5 Wenzhou Institute, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wenzhou 325001, China
Abstract  Brownian motors and self-phoretic microswimmers are two typical micromotors, for which thermal fluctuations play different roles. Brownian motors utilize thermal noise to acquire unidirectional motion, while thermal fluctuations randomize the self-propulsion of self-phoretic microswimmers. Here we perform mesoscale simulations to study a composite micromotor composed of a self-thermophoretic Janus particle under a time-modulated external ratchet potential. The composite motor exhibits a unidirectional transport, whose direction can be reversed by tuning the modulation frequency of the external potential. The maximum transport capability is close to the superposition of the drift speed of the pure Brownian motor and the self-propelling speed of the pure self-thermophoretic particle. Moreover, the hydrodynamic effect influences the orientation of the Janus particle in the ratched potential, hence also the performance of the composite motor. Our work thus provides an enlightening attempt to actively exploit inevitable thermal fluctuations in the implementation of the self-phoretic microswimmers.
Keywords:  Brownian motors      self-phoretic microswimmers      thermal noise      hydrodynamic effect  
Received:  17 August 2021      Revised:  06 September 2021      Accepted manuscript online:  16 September 2021
PACS:  47.57.-s (Complex fluids and colloidal systems) (Thermal diffusion and diffusive energy transport)  
  02.70.Ns (Molecular dynamics and particle methods)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11874397 and 11674365).
Corresponding Authors:  Rudolf Podgornik, Mingcheng Yang     E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

Xin Lou(娄辛), Nan Yu(余楠), Ke Chen(陈科), Xin Zhou(周昕), Rudolf Podgornik, and Mingcheng Yang(杨明成) A composite micromotor driven by self-thermophoresis and Brownian rectification 2021 Chin. Phys. B 30 114702

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