Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work

Image: Anna-Katharina Pumm / TUM
Image: Anna-Katharina Pumm / TUM

Abstract:
A research team led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has succeeded for the first time in producing a molecular electric motor using the DNA origami method. The tiny machine made of genetic material self-assembles and converts electrical energy into kinetic energy. The new nanomotors can be switched on and off, and the researchers can control the rotation speed and rotational direction.

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work

Munich, Germany | Posted on July 22nd, 2022

Be it in our cars, drills or the automatic coffee grinders – motors help us perform work in our everyday lives to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. On a much smaller scale, natural molecular motors perform vital tasks in our bodies. For instance, a motor protein known as ATP synthase produces the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which our body uses for short-term storage and transfer of energy.

While natural molecular motors are essential, it has been quite difficult to recreate motors on this scale with mechanical properties roughly similar to those of natural molecular motors like ATP synthase. A research team has now constructed a working nanoscale molecular rotary motor using the DNA origami method. The team was led by Hendrik Dietz, Professor of Biomolecular Nanotechnology at TUM, Friedrich Simmel, Professor of Physics of Synthetic Biological Systems at TUM, and Ramin Golestanian, director at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization.

A self-assembling nanomotor

The novel molecular motor consists of DNA – genetic material. The researchers used the DNA origami method to assemble the motor from DNA molecules. This method was invented by Paul Rothemund in 2006 and was later further developed by the research team at TUM. Several long single strands of DNA serve as a basis to which additional DNA strands attach themselves to as counterparts. The DNA sequences are selected in such a way that the attached strands and folds create the desired structures.

"We’ve been advancing this method of fabrication for many years and can now develop very precise and complex objects, such as molecular switches or hollow bodies that can trap viruses. If you put the DNA strands with the right sequences in solution, the objects self-assemble,” says Dietz.

The new nanomotor made of DNA material consists of three components: base, platform and rotor arm. The base is approximately 40 nanometers high and is fixed to a glass plate in solution via chemical bonds on a glass plate. A rotor arm of up to 500 nanometers in length is mounted on the base so that it can rotate. Another component is crucial for the motor to work as intended: a platform that lies between the base and the rotor arm. This platform contains obstacles that influence the movement of the rotor arm. To pass the obstacles and rotate, the rotor arm must bend upward a little, similar to a ratchet.

Targeted movement through AC voltage

Without energy supply, the rotor arms of the motors move randomly in one direction or the other, driven by random collisions with molecules from the surrounding solvent. However, as soon as AC voltage is applied via two electrodes, the rotor arms rotate in a targeted and continuous manner in one direction.

“The new motor has unprecedented mechanical capabilities: It can achieve torques in the range of 10 piconewton times nanometer. And it can generate more energy per second than what’s released when two ATP molecules are split,” explains Ramin Golestanian, who led the theoretical analysis of the mechanism of the motor.

The targeted movement of the motors results from a superposition of the fluctuating electrical forces with the forces experienced by the rotor arm due to the ratchet obstacles. The underlying mechanism realizes a so-called “flashing Brownian ratchet”. The researchers can control the speed and direction of the rotation via the direction of the electric field and also via the frequency and amplitude of the AC voltage.

“The new motor could also have technical applications in the future. If we develop the motor further we could possibly use it in the future to drive user-defined chemical reactions, inspired by how ATP synthase makes ATP driven by rotation. Then, for example, surfaces could be densely coated with such motors. Then you would add starting materials, apply a little AC voltage and the motors produce the desired chemical compound,” says Dietz.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Stefanie Reiffert
Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Office: 49-892-891-0519

Copyright © Technical University of Munich (TUM)

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

Chemistry

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

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

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

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

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

Lithiophilic seeds and rigid arrays synergistic induced dendrite-free and stable Li anode towards long-life lithium-oxygen batteries July 22nd, 2022

Molecular Machines

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

Kavli Lectures: The art of building small and innovating for industrial impact August 7th, 2020

Molecular Nanotechnology

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

DNA origami to scale-up molecular motors June 13th, 2019

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

Lithiophilic seeds and rigid arrays synergistic induced dendrite-free and stable Li anode towards long-life lithium-oxygen batteries 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

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

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

UNC Charlotte-led team invents new anticoagulant platform, offering hope for advances for heart surgery, dialysis, other procedures July 15th, 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