Dynamic thermal trapping enables cross-species smart nanoparticle swarms

Tongtao Li, Kwok Hoe Chan, Tianpeng Ding, Xiao Qiao Wang, Yin Cheng, Chen Zhang, Wanheng Lu, Gamze Yilmaz, Cheng Wei Qiu, Ghim Wei Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Bioinspired nano/microswarm enables fascinating collective controllability beyond the abilities of the constituent individuals, yet almost invariably, the composed units are of single species. Advancing such swarm technologies poses a grand challenge in synchronous mass manipulation of multimaterials that hold different physiochemical identities. Here, we present a dynamic thermal trapping strategy using thermoresponsive-based magnetic smart nanoparticles as host species to reversibly trap and couple given nonmagnetic entities in aqueous surroundings, enabling cross-species smart nanoparticle swarms (SMARS). Such trapping process endows unaddressable nonmagnetic species with efficient thermo-switchable magnetic response, which determines SMARS’ cross-species synchronized maneuverability. Benefiting from collective merits of hybrid components, SMARS can be configured into specific smart modules spanning from chain, vesicle, droplet, to ionic module, which can implement localized or distributed functions that are single-species unachievable. Our methodology allows dynamic multimaterials integration despite the odds of their intrinsic identities to conceive distinctive structures and functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabe3184
Number of pages12
JournalScience Advances
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Cite this