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Journal Article

Optimal length of low reynolds number nanopropellers


Fischer,  Peer
Optical Nanoscopy, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Walker (Schamel), D., Kuebler, M., Morozov, K. I., Fischer, P., & Leshansky, A. M. (2015). Optimal length of low reynolds number nanopropellers. Nano Letters, 15(7), 4412-4416. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01925.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-0B35-E
Locomotion in fluids at the nanoscale is dominated by viscous drag. One efficient propulsion scheme is to use a weak rotating magnetic field that drives a chiral object. From bacterial flagella to artificial drills, the corkscrew is a universally useful chiral shape for propulsion in viscous environments. Externally powered magnetic micro- and nanomotors have been recently developed that allow for precise fuel-free propulsion in complex media. Here, we combine analytical and numerical theory with experiments on nanostructured screw-propellers to show that the optimal length is surprisingly short–only about one helical turn, which is shorter than most of the structures in use to date. The results have important implications for the design of artificial actuated nano- and micropropellers and can dramatically reduce fabrication times, while ensuring optimal performance.