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November 16th, 2006

Designing Novel Materials and Molecular Machines

Abstract:
By imitating nature, scientists are designing completely new molecular patterns that can serve as a blueprint of new materials and sophisticated molecular machines. In the emerging field of nanotechnology, basic natural building blocks such as amino acids are used to create structures such as peptides and proteins for applications in medicine and energy. Nanobiotechnologists have begun to exploit molecular self-assembly as a fabrication tool for building new nanobiostructures such as nanotubes for metal casting, nanovesicles for drug encapsulations, and nanofiber scaffolds for growing new tissues. They also have constructed an extremely high-density nanoscale photosystem and ultra-lightweight solar-energy-harvesting molecular machines. With better understanding of this seemingly intractable phenomena, one day mankind may be able to use nano devices to repair body parts or to rejuvenate the skin, enhance human capabilities, harness the unlimited solar energy, and achieve other feats that seem impossible today.

Source:
usinfo.state.gov

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