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Home > News > Unidirectional Molecular Rotor May Lead To Tiny Sensors

October 6th, 2005

Unidirectional Molecular Rotor May Lead To Tiny Sensors

A University of Colorado at Boulder team has developed the first computer-generated model of a tiny, waterwheel-like molecular rotor that has been harnessed to rotate in one direction at different speeds in response to changes in the strength of an electrical field applied from the outside.

The synthetic molecule features a chemical axle with two attached "paddles" carrying opposite electrical charges, which is mounted parallel to a gold substrate surface, said Professor Josef Michl of CU-Boulder's chemistry and biochemistry department. The researchers found that the microscopic rotor -- constructed with a few hundred atoms -- will turn in a desired direction at a selected frequency using an oscillating electrical field concentrated in a tiny area above the molecule.

University of Colorado at Boulder

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