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Home > News > 'Kind and Gentle' Molecular Machine Could Operate at Near-Equilibrium

December 27th, 2007

'Kind and Gentle' Molecular Machine Could Operate at Near-Equilibrium

Abstract:
Molecular machines - tiny machines made of molecules that do mechanical work - are usually thought to operate in a state of non-equilibrium. This makes sense, considering that macro-sized machines operate at non-equilibrium, requiring an additional force to move. On the other hand, equilibrium implies that forces cancel each other out, resulting in an unchanging system, often at rest.

But R. Dean Astumian, a Physics Professor at the University of Maine, has recently proposed a concept in which molecular machines can operate arbitrarily close to chemical equilibrium at every instant of the cycle, and still perform work at the rate of several micrometers per second against piconewton loads. The study, "Adiabatic operation of a molecular machine," is published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source:
physorg.com

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