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: Cryo-EM imaging suggests how the double helix separates during replication

Related Stories

3-D atomic structure of TRPML1 ion channel published

October 13, 2017

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers today published a 3-D atomic structure of the ion channel found in mammals that is implicated in a rare, inherited neurodegenerative disease in humans. The work marks the first ...

Art advancing science at the nanoscale

October 18, 2017

Like many other scientists, Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute, is concerned that non-scientists have become skeptical and even fearful of his field at a time when technology can offer solutions ...

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

August 23, 2017

The world's shortest race by distance—a fraction of the width of a human hair—was run on gold and silver tracks, and took a whopping 30 hours. Given that the vehicles were invisible to the naked eye, your typical racing ...

Something in the water—life after mercury poisoning

September 26, 2017

From 1932 to 1968, hundreds of tonnes of mercury seeped into the clear waters of Minamata Bay, Japan, causing health and environmental problems still felt today. As the first global treaty on mercury finally comes into force, ...

Recommended for you

Old, meet new: Drones, high-tech camera revamp archaeology

November 24, 2017

Scanning an empty field that once housed a Shaker village in New Hampshire, Jesse Casana had come in search of the foundations of stone buildings, long-forgotten roadways and other remnants of this community dating to the ...


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.