Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Big energy savings for tiny machines

Simon Fraser University physics graduate student Steven Large, left, and professor David Sivak model the folded and unfolded states of a DNA hairpin.

CREDIT
SFU
Simon Fraser University physics graduate student Steven Large, left, and professor David Sivak model the folded and unfolded states of a DNA hairpin. CREDIT SFU

Abstract:
Inside all of us are trillions of tiny molecular nanomachines that perform a variety of tasks necessary to keep us alive.

Big energy savings for tiny machines

Burnaby, Canada | Posted on May 24th, 2019

In a ground-breaking study, a team led by SFU physics professor David Sivak demonstrated for the first time a strategy for manipulating these machines to maximize efficiency and conserve energy. The breakthrough could have ramifications across a number of fields, including creating more efficient computer chips and solar cells for energy generation.

Nanomachines are small, really small -- a few billionths of a meter wide, in fact. They're also fast and capable of performing intricate tasks: everything from moving materials around a cell, building and breaking down molecules, and processing and expressing genetic information.

The machines can perform these tasks while consuming remarkably little energy, so a theory that predicts energetic efficiency helps us understand how these microscopic machines function and what goes wrong when they break down, Sivak says.

In the lab, Sivak's experimental collaborators manipulated a DNA hairpin, whose folding and unfolding mimics the mechanical motion of more complicated molecular machines. As predicted by Sivak's theory, they found that maximum efficiency and minimal energy loss occurred if they pulled rapidly on the hairpin when it was folded but slowly when it was on the verge of unfolding.

Steven Large, an SFU physics graduate student and co-first author on the paper, explains that DNA hairpins (and nanomachines) are so tiny and floppy that they are constantly jostled by violent collisions with surrounding molecules.

"Letting the jostling unfold the hairpin for you is an energy and time saver," Large says.

Sivak thinks the next step is to apply the theory to learn how to drive a molecular machine through its operational cycle, while reducing the energy required to do that.

So, what is the benefit from making nanomachines more efficient? Sivak says that potential applications could be game-changing in a variety of areas.

"Uses could include designing more efficient computer chips and computer memory (reducing power requirements and the heat they emit), making better renewable energy materials for processes like artificial photosynthesis (increasing the energy harvested from the Sun) and improving the autonomy of biomolecular machines for biotech applications like drug delivery."

The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Sivak

778-782-9017

Copyright © Simon Fraser 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

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE

Related News Press

News and information

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

Possible Futures

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

Molecular Machines

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Nanotech scientists create world's smallest origami bird March 17th, 2021

Controlling the speed of enzyme motors brings biomedical applications of nanorobots closer: Recent advances in this field have made micro- and nanomotors promising devices for solving many biomedical problems October 13th, 2020

Giant nanomachine aids the immune system: Theoretical chemistry August 28th, 2020

Molecular Nanotechnology

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Nanotech scientists create world's smallest origami bird March 17th, 2021

Light-controlled nanomachine controls catalysis: A molecular motor enables the speed of chemical processes to be controlled using light impulses November 23rd, 2020

Controlling the speed of enzyme motors brings biomedical applications of nanorobots closer: Recent advances in this field have made micro- and nanomotors promising devices for solving many biomedical problems October 13th, 2020

Chip Technology

The best semiconductor of them all? Researchers have found a material that can perform much better than silicon. The next step is finding practical and economic ways to make it July 22nd, 2022

Buckyballs on gold are less exotic than graphene July 22nd, 2022

Quantum computer works with more than zero and one: Quantum digits unlock more computational power with fewer quantum particles July 22nd, 2022

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

Discoveries

HKU physicists found signatures of highly entangled quantum matter July 22nd, 2022

How different cancer cells respond to drug-delivering nanoparticles: The findings of a large-scale screen could help researchers design nanoparticles that target specific types of cancer July 22nd, 2022

The best semiconductor of them all? Researchers have found a material that can perform much better than silicon. The next step is finding practical and economic ways to make it July 22nd, 2022

Buckyballs on gold are less exotic than graphene July 22nd, 2022

Announcements

Quantum computer works with more than zero and one: Quantum digits unlock more computational power with fewer quantum particles July 22nd, 2022

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Buckyballs on gold are less exotic than graphene July 22nd, 2022

Quantum computer works with more than zero and one: Quantum digits unlock more computational power with fewer quantum particles July 22nd, 2022

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

Energy

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

A novel graphene based NiSe2 nanocrystalline array for efficient hydrogen evolution reaction July 15th, 2022

Novel compound boosts urea to sustainable energy reaction process, researchers report: Integrating energy-saving hydrogen production with urea electrooxidation over crystalline-amorphous NiO-CrOx electrocatalyst July 15th, 2022

Nanobiotechnology

How different cancer cells respond to drug-delivering nanoparticles: The findings of a large-scale screen could help researchers design nanoparticles that target specific types of cancer July 22nd, 2022

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Study reveals new mode of triggering immune responses July 15th, 2022

Solar/Photovoltaic

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

Photoinduced large polaron transport and dynamics in organic-inorganic hybrid lead halide perovskite with terahertz probes July 8th, 2022

Key in increasing efficiency of next-generation solar cell, found in ‘light absorption capacity’! July 1st, 2022

Solving the solar energy storage problem with rechargeable batteries that can convert and store energy at once June 24th, 2022

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project