The self-propelled motion with deformation of micrometer-sized soft matter in water has potential application not only for underwater carriers or probes in very narrow spaces but also for understanding cell locomotion in terms of non-equilibrium physics. As far as we know, there have been no reports about micrometer-sized self-propelled soft matter mimicking amoeboid motion underwater. Here, we report an artificial molecular system of underwater oil droplets exhibiting self-propelled motion with deformation as an initial experimental model. We describe the heterogeneity in a deformable self-propelled oil droplet system in aqueous and oil phases and at their interface based on the behavior and interaction of surfactant and oil molecules. The current results have great importance for scientific frontiers such as developing deformable micro-swimmers and exploring the emergence of self-locomotion of oil droplet-Type protocells.
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