Bacteria-Busting Bots Clean Water

I’m just catching up on my summer press-release reading and came across an email from the American Chemical Society. The release notes that researchers have been exploring the use of self-propelled micromotors to degrade and capture pollutants in water. The team designed “two-faced” spherical particles to perform the task. One face is made with magnesium, which reacts with water to produce hydrogen bubbles to propel the microbots. The other face is made out of alternating iron and gold layers topped by silver nanoparticles. Bacteria stick to the gold and are killed by the silver nanoparticles.

Not only is this cool it’s life changing for people who live in areas where potable water is scarce. And it conjures up images of Aquaman and his Super Friends battling pollution to save the world. Check out the short video below to see the microbots in action.


Traci-bio-photo.jpgTraci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. She used to spend her Saturday mornings in front of the TV watching Super Friends. She always wished she had wonder-twin powers. You can email her at