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- Materials Science; Engineering; Physics and Astronomy; autonomous motion; collective behavior; metal− organic frameworks; microstructure; surface tension
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Placed at a water/air interface, particles of porphyrin-based MOFs (metal-organic frameworks) cut from large-area films display efficient, multiple-use autonomous motility powered by release of solvents incorporated in the MOF matrix and directionality dictated by their shapes. The particles can be refueled multiple times and can achieve speeds of ca. 200 mm·s with high kinetic energy per unit of chemical "fuel" expended (>50 μJ·g). Efficiency of motion depends on the nature of the fuel used as well as the microstructure and surface wettability of the MOF surface. When multiple movers are present at the interface, they organize into "open" structures that exhibit collective, time-periodic motions.