Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Rice rolls out new nanocars: Fluorescent imaging shows models operate at room temperature

Abstract:
This year's model isn't your father's nanocar. It runs cool.

The drivers of Rice University's nanocars were surprised to find modified versions of their creation have the ability to roll at room temperature. While practical applications for the tiny machines may be years away, the breakthrough suggests they'll be easier to adapt to a wider range of uses than the originals, which had to be heated to 200 degrees Celsius before they could move across a surface.

Rice rolls out new nanocars: Fluorescent imaging shows models operate at room temperature

Houston, TX | Posted on February 2nd, 2009

The nanocar was a sensation when introduced in 2005 by the lab of James Tour, Rice's Chao Professor of Chemistry and a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and computer science.

Tour's original single-molecule car had buckyball wheels and flexible axles, and it served as a proof-of-concept for the manufacture of machines at the nanoscale. A light-activated paddlewheel motor was later attached to propel it, and the wheels were changed from buckyballs to carboranes. These were easier to synthesize and permitted the motor to move, because the buckyball wheels trapped the light energy that served as fuel before the motor could turn. Since then, nanotrucks, nanobackhoes and other models have been added to the Rice showroom.

A large-scale representation of the nanocar made its public debut in Houston's famous Art Car Parade last year.

Rice's Stephan Link, an assistant professor of chemistry who specializes in plasmonics, took the wheel for a new series of experiments that built upon Tour's pioneering work. Link's primary achievement was using single-molecule fluorescence imaging to track the tiny vehicles, as opposed to the scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) used in earlier experiments. STM imaging can capture matter at an atomic scale, but the technique requires the target to be on a conductive substrate. Not so with fluorescent imaging.

A paper on the new research published this month in ACS Nano was authored by Link; Tour; Anatoly Kolomeisky, associate professor of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering; postdoc Guillaume Vives; graduate students Saumyakanti Khatua and Jason M. Guerrero; and undergraduate Kevin Claytor.

"We thought, 'We're just going to take an image, and nothing's going to happen,'" said Link of the team's initial success in attaching fluorescent dye trailers to the nanocars. "We were worrying about how to build a temperature stage around it and how to heat it and how to make it move.

"To my surprise, my students came back and said, 'They moved!'"

Sure enough, time-lapsed films monitoring an area 10-by-10 microns square showed the cars, which appear as fluorescing dots, zigging and zagging on a standard glass slide. Link said the cars moved an average 4.1 nanometers (or two nanocar lengths) per second.

"It took us another year to quantify it," said Link, noting as key the development of a new tracking algorithm by Claytor that will be the subject of a future paper.

The simplest technique for finding moving nanocars was precisely the way astronomers find distant cosmic bodies: Look at a series of images, and the dots that move are winners. The ones that don't are either fluorescing molecules sitting by themselves or nanocars stuck in park.

The dye - tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate - had the added attraction of emitting a polarized signal. Since dye molecules tended to line up with the chassis, the researchers could always tell which way the cars were pointed.

Link hoped cars with dye embedded into the chassis can be built that would eliminate the drag created by the fluorescent trailer. He speculated that putting six wheels instead of four on a nanocar could also help keep it moving in one direction, much like a tank with treads.

"Now that we see movement, the challenge is to take it to the next level and make it go from point A to point B. That's not going to be easy." Creating nanotracks or roads may be part of the solution, Link said.

All the research is directed at the ultimate goal of building machines from the bottom up in much the same way proteins are built to carry out tasks in nature.

"In terms of computing, having these single molecules be addressable is a goal everybody wants to reach," said Link. "And to understand and emulate biophysics and biomechanics, to build a device based on what nature gives us, is of course one of the dreams of nanotechnology."

####

About Rice University
Rice University is consistently ranked one of America’s best teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size—2,850 undergraduates and 1,950 graduate students; selectivity—10 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources—an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, and the fifth largest endowment per student among American universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work. Rice’s wooded campus is located in the nation’s fourth largest city and on America’s South Coast.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Ruth

713-348-6327

Copyright © Rice University

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 Links

The paper can be found at:

Time-lapsed films can be seen at:

Related News Press

Videos/Movies

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

News and information

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

New superconducting coil improves MRI performance: UH-led research offers higher resolution, shorter scan time July 23rd, 2016

New probe developed for improved high resolution measurement of brain temperature: Improved accuracy could allow researchers to measure brain temperature in times of trauma when small deviations in temperature can lead to additional brain injury July 23rd, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

Academic/Education

News from Quorum: The College of New Jersey use the Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system in a project to study ice crystals in high altitude clouds July 19th, 2016

Leti and Korea Institute of Science and Technology to Explore Collaboration on Advanced Technologies for Digital Era July 14th, 2016

SUNY Poly Celebrates Its 10th Year Exhibiting at SEMICON West with Cutting Edge Developments in Integrated Photonics and Power Electronics July 8th, 2016

FEI and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Establish New Electron Microscopy ‘Centre of Excellence’: Centre of Excellence involves materials and life sciences research and technical collaboration July 5th, 2016

Molecular Machines

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

Pushing a single-molecule switch: An international team of researchers from Donostia International Physics Center, Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, University of Liverpool, and the Polish Academy of Sciences has shown a new way to operate a single-molecule switch July 19th, 2016

Researchers harness DNA as the engine of super-efficient nanomachine: New platform detects traces of everything from bacteria to viruses, cocaine and metals July 10th, 2016

On the path toward molecular robots: Scientists at Japan's Hokkaido University have developed light-powered molecular motors that repetitively bend and unbend, bringing us closer to molecular robots. July 8th, 2016

Announcements

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

New superconducting coil improves MRI performance: UH-led research offers higher resolution, shorter scan time July 23rd, 2016

New probe developed for improved high resolution measurement of brain temperature: Improved accuracy could allow researchers to measure brain temperature in times of trauma when small deviations in temperature can lead to additional brain injury July 23rd, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

Human Interest/Art

Weizmann Institute of Science Presents: Weizmann Wonder Wander - 4G - is Online June 21st, 2016

Call for NanoArt and Art-Science-Technology Papers June 9th, 2016

Scientists propose non-animal tools for assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials: Particle and Fibre Toxicology publishes recommendations from expert group meeting April 26th, 2016

Are humans the new supercomputer?Today, people of all backgrounds can contribute to solving serious scientific problems by playing computer games. A Danish research group has extended the limits of quantum physics calculations and simultaneously blurred the boundaries between mac April 14th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic