Self-propelled cellulose nanocrystal based catalytic nanomotors for targeted hyperthermia and pollutant remediation applications

Prodyut Dhar, Soundararajan Narendren, Surendra Singh Gaur, Saksham Sharma, Amit Kumar, Vimal Katiyar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Inspired from biological motors, cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are strategically modified to induce self-propulsion behavior with the capabilities to catalytically degrade pollutants along with magnetic hyperthermia to clean arterial plaques during its course of propulsion. CNCs derived from renewable biomass, are decorated with catalytically active, magneto-responsive nanomaterials (Fe2O3/Pd nanoparticles) through sustainable routes. CNC nanomotors show improved propulsion at lowered peroxide concentrations with remotely controlled trajectory through chemo-magnetic field gradients and ideal surface-wettability characteristics, overcoming the requirement of surfactants, as with traditional nanomotors. We observed that nanomotors undergo motion through heterogeneous bubble propulsion mechanism, with capability to in situ degrade pollutants and generate local heat through hyperthermia, enhancing the rate of degradation process in real time. As proof of concept, we demonstrate that the dynamics of nanomotors can be controlled in a microfluidic channel through site-directed magnetic field and induction of pH gradient, mimicking the chemotaxis in cell-like environment and as swarm of nano-surgeons removes plaques from clogged arteries. Our study shows that strategic modification of CNCs results in fabrication of nanomotors with efficient propulsion system infused with multi-functional characteristics of high catalytic activity and magnetic hyperthermia which opens up new avenues for utilization of bio-based nanomotors derived from lignocellulose for myriad applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1036
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biomedical applications
  • Cellulose Nanocrystals
  • Nanomotors
  • Pollutant remediation
  • Self-propulsion


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