Professor Nicholas Fang and his team had worked on the research for the topic “Self-regulated underwater phototaxis of a photoresponsive hydrogel-based phototactic vehicle”. This work is a collaboration with Prof Xiaoshi Qian at Shanghai Jiaotong University. The research is recently published by Nature Nanotechnology of August 2023.
Here is the reference:
Hou, G., Zhang, X., Du, F. et al. Self-regulated underwater phototaxis of a photoresponsive hydrogel-based phototactic vehicle. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-023-01490-4
In this work, they show that such robot swimmer can track the light path without any tele-operation and can be accurately steered over a complex route, guided by a moderate, constant illumination. Their analysis show that the key to accurately steer such soft robot is to harness the energy from the ambient light that directly translates into convective flows at the heated surface. Further, they demonstrated this self-supported, cyclic migration in a series of microalgae-incorporated PTVs driven by solar energy, in which the microalgae serve as the photothermal converter and can also provide many biological and ecological functions. Their plan for next step is to evaluate the potential of such hydrogel-based robot as CO2 super-absorbent for applications such as CO2 capture from industrial exhaust gas.
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