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August 22nd, 2007

Nano production lines

Researchers in Switzerland have built nanoscale cargo loading stations and shuttles, an important step towards assembly lines for nanotechnology.

Biological assembly lines consist of kinesin proteins which carry cargo, like organelles or vesicles, and literally walk along microtubules. However, as far as man-made systems go, 'nothing comparable to a macroscopic assembly line exists at the nanoscale,' according to Viola Vogel of the Department of Materials at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. 'Imagine if you wanted to build a car by fabricating all of its components, putting them in a glass full of water and hoping that they would self-assemble spontaneously into the finished car.'


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