"Natural nanomotors" of tin from Sandia Labs

from the who-knew-tin-would-become-high-tech? dept.
An AAAS press release describes a "natural nanomotor" using metal. Excerpts: "The discovery of dancing tin, reported 24 November 2000 in Science's Nanotechnology Issue, may promise surprisingly efficient nanomotors, if researchers can harness this chemical locomotion system. By manipulating the surface energies that drive tin crystals to move across copper, it might also be possible to control such movements, thereby forcing alloys to form desired nanoshapes, according to researchers with the Sandia National Laboratories…Schmid's research 'can be viewed as a direct observation of a nanomotor,' according to a Science Perspectives essay… How powerful are these natural nanomotors? Tin islands crank out roughly 0.3 horsepower per kilogram of weight…By comparison, a car's power-to-weight ratio is about 0.1 hp/kg–making the natural nanomotors more efficient, in theory. 'The challenge,' they concluded, 'is to devise nanomotors whose motion can be controlled externally (so that they can be used to move things around at will) and that can be refueled.' " See the Quicktime movie.

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