Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Nanoscale Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Michael A. Carpenter


The design and materials optimization of a optical micropropeller comprised of silver nanorods on a fused silica substrate was developed. A combination of surface plasmon resonance, thermophoretic and convective forces enable rotation of the micropropeller in an aqueous environment. This work aims to eliminate the dependence of optical micropropellers on the requirement for a light source by relying on a blackbody radiation energy harvesting principle. This energy harvesting principle is able to plasmonically excite noble metal nanorods of a specific aspect ratio at specific wavelengths that correspond to an ambient temperature. By investigating the dependence of the aspect ratio and the micropropeller’s optical and thermal responses at a specific wavelength, an optical micropropeller can be developed that can operate in low temperature environments without external sources. The forces from the Poynting vector caused by electric field generation and the force from the convective current were found to be possible in a 50°C aqueous environment. The forces acted in the same direction, presenting the possibility that enough torque could be generated to facilitate rotation.