Metallic microswimmers driven up the wall by gravity

Quentin Brosseau, Florencio Balboa Usabiaga, Enkeleida Lushi, Yang Wu, Leif Ristroph, Michael D. Ward, Michael J. Shelley, Jun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experiments on autophoretic bimetallic nanorods propelling within a fuel of hydrogen peroxide show that tail-heavy swimmers preferentially orient upwards and ascend along inclined planes. We show that such gravitaxis is strongly facilitated by interactions with solid boundaries, allowing even ultraheavy microswimmers to climb nearly vertical surfaces. Theory and simulations show that the buoyancy or gravitational torque that tends to align the rods is reinforced by a fore-aft drag asymmetry induced by hydrodynamic interactions with the wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6597-6602
Number of pages6
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 21 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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