Nanomolecular motor spins on a surface

October 26, 2005

Netherlands scientists say they've developed the first molecular motor that rotates in just one direction while attached to a solid surface.

Although similar motor molecules have been made before, they have only worked in liquid solutions. Useful nanomachines built from individual molecules would need motors that could be anchored to a solid.

Ben Feringa of the University of Groningen and colleagues say their motor is based on a molecule with two "legs" that has sulfur atoms at its "feet." Those atoms cling to the surface of a tiny gold nanoparticle.

When the molecule is exposed to light and heat, it swivels at the waist, Feringa said. The rotary motion is restricted to one direction by chemical groups in the upper portion of the motor that act as a ratchet, preventing the molecule from slipping back in the opposite direction.

The discovery is reported in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Titan supercomputer analyzes bacterial photosynthetic system

Related Stories

Titan supercomputer analyzes bacterial photosynthetic system

May 16, 2017

Despite the grand diversity among living organisms, the molecule used to store and transmit energy within aerobic, or oxygen-using, cells is remarkably the same. From bacteria to fungi, plants, and animals, adenosine triphosphate ...

Microscopic molecular cars to race in France

April 4, 2017

Microscopic molecular vehicles piloted by chemists and physicists will line up in the world's first nano-car race in France this month—but don't expect to see anything with the naked eye.

On intelligence

April 17, 2017

During human evolution, our cerebral cortex increased in size in response to new environmental challenges. The cerebral cortex is the site of diverse processes, including visual perception and language acquisition. However, ...

New molecular force probe stretches molecules, atom by atom

March 29, 2009

Chemists at the University of Illinois have created a simple and inexpensive molecular technique that replaces an expensive atomic force microscope for studying what happens to small molecules when they are stretched or compressed.

World's smallest electric motor made from a single molecule

September 4, 2011

Chemists at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences have developed the world's first single molecule electric motor, a development that may potentially create a new class of devices that could be used in applications ...

Single molecule motor inspired by natural energy conversion

January 23, 2006

A single molecule working as the nano scale version of the steam engine: that’s the molecular motor developed by a group of UT scientists led by prof. Julius Vancso of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology. Natural ‘motor ...

Recommended for you

How artificial intelligence is taking on ransomware

June 28, 2017

Twice in the space of six weeks, the world has suffered major attacks of ransomware—malicious software that locks up photos and other files stored on your computer, then demands money to release them.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.