Hassan Masoud (ME-EM/MuSTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $175,000 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is “Collaborative Research: Individual and Collective Dynamics of Marangoni Surface Tension Effects Between Particles.” This is a three-year project.
The principal goal of this research is to investigate the motion of active particles at fluidic interfaces due to a gradient of surface tension stemming from the discharge of a surface-active agent, a surface reaction, or from the release of heat by the particle. Powered by converting chemical energy into mechanical work, these self-propelled “Marangoni” particles, both at the individual level and as a collection, can bring to bear functionalities that resemble those of biological organisms. The findings of this study will determine the guiding principles for designing miniature self-propelled particles, which can lead to transformative innovations in robotics, microfluidics, and biomedical engineering. These tiny surfing robots can potentially execute missions that are currently very difficult or even impossible to accomplish.