US-Italy team builds molecular motor powered by sunlight


“Chemists at Italy’s University of Bologna, UCLA and the California NanoSystems Institute have designed and constructed a molecular motor of nanometer size that does not consume fuels; their nano motor is powered only by sunlight…The nano motor can work continuously without any external interference, and operates without consuming or generating chemical fuels or waste…”

Quoting Prof. Fraser Stoddart, U.S. leader of the project and member of the Steering Committee for Foresight’s Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems:

“The system operates according to a four-stroke cycle which is reminiscent of an internal combination engine in a motor car: 1) light excitation and subsequent transfers of an electron (“combustion”), 2) displacement of the ring along the rod from A to B (“piston displacement”), 3) removal of the electron received by station A (“exhaust removal”), and 4) relocation of the piston. The motions executed by the nano motor are quite rapid: a full cycle is carried out in less than one-thousandth of a second, which means that the motor can operate at a frequency of 1000 Hertz — a speed that is equivalent, using the car engine analogy, to 60,000 rpm.”

It’s great to see this progress toward molecular machine systems. The no-waste aspect is particularly exciting to those of us who see helping the environment as a central goal for nanotech. —Christine

Leave a comment

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop