[PNAS] Fluctuotaxis: Nanoscale directional motion away from regions of fluctuation

Date:2024/3/17 21:57:54

Yang Chen, Fangyan Zhu, Jiantao Leng, Tianquan Ying, Jin-Wu Jiang, Quan Zhou, Tienchong Chang, Wanlin Guo, Huajian Gao

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  ,  120, 31e2220500120 2023.


Abstract: Regulating the motion of nanoscale objects on a solid surface is vital for a broad range of technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and mechanotechnology. In spite of impressive advances achieved in the field, there is still a lack of a robust mechanism which can operate under a wide range of situations and in a controllable manner. Here, we report a mechanism capable of controllably driving directed motion of any nanoobjects (e.g., nanoparticles, biomolecules, etc.) in both solid and liquid forms. We show via molecular dynamics simulations that a nanoobject would move preferentially away from the fluctuating region of an underlying substrate, a phenomenon termed fluctuotaxis-for which the driving force originates from the difference in atomic fluctuations of the substrate behind and ahead of the object. In particular, we find that the driving force can depend quadratically on both the amplitude and frequency of the substrate and can thus be tuned flexibly. The proposed driving mechanism provides a robust and controllable way for nanoscale mass delivery and has potential in various applications including nanomotors, molecular machines, etc.


Keywords: atomic fluctuation; mechanical vibration; molecular dynamics; regulating motion; robust driving mechanism.