Self-propelled droplets are of considerable interest as an appropriate model for understanding the self-propulsion of objects in the fields of nonequilibrium physics and nonlinear science. Several research groups have reported the monodirectional motion of droplets, that is, chemotaxis, using stimuli-responsive materials. However, the precise control of chemotaxis remains challenging from the perspective of synthetic chemistry because chemotactic motion is primarily induced by the consumption of reactive oil or surfactants. Herein, we report a chemical system containing pH-responsive fumaric acid derivatives, in which the oil droplet exhibited positive chemotaxis over a wide pH range–from basic to acidic conditions. From the measurements of the interfacial tension between the oil and aqueous phases, it was deduced that the positive chemotaxis was due to heterogeneity in the interfacial tension of the droplet surface, which was accompanied by the production of surface-active compounds in the pH gradient in a linear-type channel.
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