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March 15th, 2005
Molecular self-assembly processes that build nanostructures can be powered by molecular motors, researchers in Switzerland and the USA have shown.
This motor-driven approach can lead to nanostructures that would not form in a 'passive' self-assembly process, where the linking together of molecular objects is left simply to the random buffeting of thermal motions. For example, motorized transport of self-assembled rod-shaped structures across a surface forces them to bend despite their considerable stiffness, and even to coil up into spools, like nanoscale worms.
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