Spatially Controlled CO2 Conversion Kinetics in Natural Leaves for Motion Generation

Ambrose A. Melvin, Bertrand Goudeau, Wojciech Nogala, Alexander Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Living systems that can spontaneously exhibit directional motion belong to diverse classes such as bacteria, sperm and plankton. They have fascinated scientists in recent years to design completely artificial or biohybrid mobile objects. Natural ingredients, like parts of plants, have been used to elaborate miniaturized dynamic objects, which can move when they are combined with other, non-natural, building blocks. Herein, we report that the precise structural tailoring of natural plant leaves allows generating a spatially predefined and confined release of oxygen gas, due to the conversion of carbon dioxide. This constitutes the driving force for generating motion, which is solely due to the respiration of leaves by photosynthesis. The rate of gas evolution can be fine-tuned by changing the light intensity and the leaf size, allowing ultimately to control the motility of objects with dimensions ranging from the millimeter to the micrometer scale.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • CO Fixation
  • Microswimmers
  • O Evolution
  • Photosynthesis
  • Propulsion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Catalysis


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