Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 9, pp 7322–7332 | Cite as

One-step synthesis of PCL/Mg Janus micromotor for precious metal ion sensing, removal and recycling

  • Dongmei Zhang
  • Dan Wang
  • Jieai LiEmail author
  • Xiaoyi Xu
  • Hui ZhangEmail author
  • Ruomeng Duan
  • Bo Song
  • Dafeng Zhang
  • Bin DongEmail author


The field of the micromotor has undergone continuous progresses, especially in the environmental remediation application. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are few micromotors which can sense, remove and recycle metal ions simultaneously. In this paper, we develop a Janus micromotor consisting of polycaprolactone (PCL) and magnesium (Mg) microparticle synthesized by one-step method. Due to the displacement reaction between Mg and the precious metal ions, the resulting micromotor can be self-propelled in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution. Since the motion velocity is highly dependent on both ion species and their concentrations, the micromotor can function as a motion-based metal ion sensor with good selectivity and sensitivity. In addition, since Mg alone is capable of propelling the whole structure in the presence of chloride ion (Cl), the water-driven PCL/Mg micromotor exhibits higher efficiency when utilized in noble metal removal and recycling as compared to that of the stationary one. We thus believe the one-step fabrication, precious metal ion sensing, removal and recycling capabilities make the current micromotor potentially attractive for polluted water monitoring and treatment.



This work was supported by National MCF Energy R&D Program 2018YFE0306105, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 21574094) and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology. It was also supported by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD), the 111 Project, Joint International Research Laboratory of Carbon-Based Functional Materials and Devices and the Fund for Excellent Creative Research Teams of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 464 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (AVI 568 kb)
10853_2019_3390_MOESM3_ESM.avi (408 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (AVI 408 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Functional Nano and Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials and DevicesSoochow UniversitySuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Environment and Civil EngineeringDongguan University of TechnologyDongguanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Materials Science and EngineeringLiaocheng UniversityLiaochengPeople’s Republic of China

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