Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > EU project aims at ultimate in miniaturisation: molecular machines

Abstract:
Making minute, molecular motors is the ultimate goal of the EU-funded SYNNANOMOTORS project, which was one of the winners of the Descartes Prize for Transnational Collaborative Research at the recent European Science Awards.

EU project aims at ultimate in miniaturisation: molecular machines

Europe | Posted on March 25th, 2008

'Nature uses molecular motors and machines for every single biological process,' said project coordinator Professor David Leigh of the University of Edinburgh in the UK. With these machines, biological systems harness the sun's energy, communicate, perceive the world around them and control our movements.

In contrast, mankind currently relies on machines based on 'macro' technologies. All our pharmaceuticals and materials are based on the static properties of these substances. Once you get down to the nano-scale, molecules and atoms behave very differently, and this is what the researchers hope to exploit.

'We're used to machines in the big world,' explained Professor Leigh. 'What our work is about is trying to shrink this concept down to the ultimate in miniaturisation, where the machines are molecules themselves.'

The inspiration for the project was a chance discovery. Professor Leigh and his team were trying to create a large, ring-shaped molecule as part of an attempt to create novel chemical sensors. Instead, they produced two interlocked ring-shaped molecules which looked like a chain link.

Further research of this system led to the production of compounds called rotaxanes, in which a 'wheel' molecule fits round an 'axle' molecule. It was with these molecules that the SYNNANOMOTORS team create the first molecular motor, when they used a surface modified with rotaxanes to transport a drop of liquid uphill. In this case, shining a light in front of the drop caused the molecules to move in such a way that the water was effectively propelled along by the minute motors.

The project partners hope that this technology could one day be used to transport cargos, such as drugs, around the body. Meanwhile the nano-motors are also finding applications in information storage. In a system with two interlocked rings, changing the orientation of the rings changes the properties of the substance. For example, in one orientation it might be fluorescent, in another not. This means information can be 'read' optically from a polymer film covered in the molecules.

The first commercial applications of these miniscule motors are already in the pipeline, as project participant Professor Wybren Jan Buma of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands explained.

'If you put a very thin layer of these molecules on a surface, and then you touch them with a very sharp tip, of one atom across, and push on it, then you get patterns,' he told CORDIS News. The resulting pattern of droplets can be controlled, and a spin off company is now using this technique for identification and counterfeiting purposes. 'So it is something that we are using already,' he added.

The project partners include European experts in chemistry, physics, surface science and nanotechnology. However, when accepting the award, Professor Leigh paid tribute to the hard work of the younger members of the consortium. 'I'm sure there'll be lots of pizza and beer in the lab to celebrate!' he said.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Cordis

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

Conductive Inks: booming to $2.8 billion by 2024 April 17th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds April 17th, 2014

INSCX™ exchange to present Exchange trade reporting mechanism for engineered nanomaterials (NMs) to UK regulation agencies, insurers and upstream/downstream users April 17th, 2014

Molecular Machines

Structural Insights into the Inner Workings of a Viral Nanomachine April 3rd, 2014

Big data tackles tiny molecular machines:Rice University technique able to analyze conformations of complex molecular machines March 14th, 2014

Advantages emerge in using nanostructured material in the forging process of mechanical components February 28th, 2014

Nanomotors are controlled, for the first time, inside living cells February 10th, 2014

Molecular Nanotechnology

Roomy cages built from DNA: Self-assembling cages are the largest standalone 3-D DNA structures yet, and could one day deliver drugs, or house tiny bioreactors or photonic devices March 13th, 2014

Advantages emerge in using nanostructured material in the forging process of mechanical components February 28th, 2014

Stirring-up atomtronics in a quantum circuit: What's so 'super' about this superfluid February 12th, 2014

Nanomotors are controlled, for the first time, inside living cells February 10th, 2014

Announcements

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

IDTechEx Printed Electronics Europe 2014 Award Winners April 1st, 2014

Dais Analytic Wins SBIR Grant: Dais Analytic Receives US Army Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Further Its Demonstrated Successes in Cleaning Most Forms of Wastewater March 28th, 2014

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark March 24th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE