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Linking Catalyst-Coated Isotropic Colloids into “Active” Flexible Chains Enhances Their Diffusivity

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Complex Fluids and Polymer Engineering, Polymer Science and Engineering, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Dr. Homi Bhabha Road, Pune 411008, India
Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036, India
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences−Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), CIT Campus, Chennai 600113, India
§ Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Palakkad, Palakkad 678557, India
DAMTP, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA, United Kingdom
Cite this: ACS Nano 2017, 11, 10, 10025–10031
Publication Date (Web):September 12, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b04265
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Active colloids are not constrained by equilibrium: ballistic propulsion, superdiffusive behavior, or enhanced diffusivities have been reported for active Janus particles. At high concentrations, interactions between active colloids give rise to complex emergent behavior. Their collective dynamics result in the formation of several hundred particle-strong flocks or swarms. Here, we demonstrate significant diffusivity enhancement for colloidal objects that neither have a Janus architecture nor are at high concentrations. We employ uniformly catalyst-coated, viz. chemo-mechanically, isotropic colloids and link them into a chain to enforce proximity. Activity arises from hydrodynamic interactions between enchained colloidal beads due to reaction-induced phoretic flows catalyzed by platinum nanoparticles on the colloid surface. This results in diffusivity enhancements of up to 60% for individual chains in dilute solution. Chains with increasing flexibility exhibit higher diffusivities. Simulations accounting for hydrodynamic interactions between enchained colloids due to active phoretic flows accurately capture the experimental diffusivity. These simulations reveal that the enhancement in diffusivity can be attributed to the interplay between chain conformational fluctuations and activity. Our results show that activity can be used to systematically modulate the mobility of soft slender bodies.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b04265.

    • Experimental details: PtNPs synthesis and characterization, video data collection and analysis, and control experiments. Simulation details: model for passive and active chains, effect of activity on enhancement of diffusion (PDF)

    • Videos of rigid and semiflexible chain motions from experiments (SI–V1 and SI–V2); trajectories of chain motion from simulations of active and passive chains (SI–V3) (ZIP)

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