Dynamic thermal trapping enables cross-species smart nanoparticle swarms

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Science Advances  06 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabe3184
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe3184


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.

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