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Preparation of Reinforced Anisometric Patchy Supraparticles for Self‐Propulsion

Oguztürk, H. Esra; Bauer, Leona J.; Mantouvalou, Ioanna; Kanngieβ  er, Birgit; Velev, Orlin D.; Gradzielski, Michael

The preparation of fumed silica‐based anisometric supraparticles with well‐defined catalytically active patches suitable for self‐propulsion is presented here. These sub‐millimeter‐sized particles can self‐propel as they contain Pt‐covered magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles, where the Pt can decompose catalytically a “fuel” like H2O2 and thereby propel the supraparticles. By their magnetic properties, the catalytically active nanoparticles can be concentrated in patches on the supraparticle surface. The goal is to obtain robust supraparticles with well‐defined patchiness and long‐time stability during self‐propulsion through evaporation‐induced self‐assembly (EISA) on a superhydrophobic surface. The latter is a major issue as oxygen evolution can lead to the disintegration of the supraparticles. Therefore, enhanced mechanical stability is sought using a number of different additives, where the best results are obtained by incorporating polystyrene microspheres followed by heat treatment or reinforcement with microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and sodium trisilicate (Na2SiO3). The detailed internal structure of the different types of particles is investigated by confocal micro‐X‐ray fluorescence spectroscopy (CMXRF), which allows for precisely locating the catalytic Fe3O4@Pt nanoparticles within the supraparticles with a resolution in the µm range. The insights on the supraparticle structure, together with their long‐time stability, allow fabricating optimized patchy supraparticles for potential applications in propulsion‐enhanced catalysis.
Published in: Particle & Particle Systems Characterization, 10.1002/ppsc.202000328, Wiley