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A nanomotor is a molecular device capable of converting energy into movement and forces on the order of the piconewtons.

A proposed branch of research is the integration of molecular motor proteins found in living cells into molecular motors implanted in artificial devices. Such a motor protein would be able to move a "cargo" within that device, similarly to how kinesin moves various molecules along tracks of microtubules inside cells.

Starting and stopping the movement of such motor proteins would involve caging the ATP in molecular structures sensitive to UV light, pulses of UV illumination would thus provide pulses of movement.

Nanomotors have also been made using synthetic materials and chemical methods, as described in the following section. See also Nanocar and Synthetic molecular motors.

Nanotube nanomotor

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley headed by Professor Alex Zettl have developed rotational bearings based upon multiwall carbon nanotubes. By attaching a gold plate (with dimensions of order 100nm) to the outer shell of a suspended multiwall carbon nanotube (like nested carbon cylinders), they are able to electrostatically rotate the outer shell relative to the inner core. These bearings are very robust; Devices have been oscillated thousands of times with no indication of wear. The work was done in situ in an SEM. These nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are the next step in miniaturization that may find their way into commercial aspects in the future.

Notice: The thin vertical string seen in the middle, is the nanotube to which the rotor is attached. When the outer tube is sheared, the rotor is able to spin freely on the nanotube bearing.

The process and technology can be seen in this render.

  • Physicists build world's smallest motor using nanotubes and etched silicon
  • Research Project
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Electrostatic motor

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nanomotor". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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