Images of Research: Hope for humanity

Eating away at the microplastic problem

Category: Hope for humanity


A black and white microscope image of a tiny microplastic molecule surrounded by little spheres with cracks like little mouths

Viewed through a microscope, this tiny piece of plastic is effectively being devoured by Pac-Man-like ‘TiO2 micromotors’. These easy to make particles are known as ‘active matter’ – an emerging technology with huge possibilities from drug delivery to environmental clean-up. Our current research is exploring their ability to collect and break down plastics in a marine environment, and therefore their potential to provide a scalable and inexpensive solution to ocean pollution. 

Entrant: Juliane Simmchen , Chemistry

Copyright: Juliane Simmchen

Funding: Volkswagen foundation (91619); Fulbright foundation (Cottrell award); BmBF (Green Talents)

Collaborators: Purnesh Chattopadhyay, Camila Ariza Tarazona


Entrant profile: