Nanotechnology employed to create smallest-ever electric motor
06 September 2011
Posted by Michelle Devonshire
An electric motor has been developed by scientists in the US that comprises a single molecule.
The researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts employed nanotechnology principles to create the tiny device at the institution's School of Arts and Sciences.
It has been declared the world's first single molecule electric motor and the smallest ever produced, measuring one nanometer across and offering a range of potential applications.
The rotation of the motor can be controlled using electricity supplied via a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope, with higher temperatures affecting the speed at which it turns.
Writing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, Senior Author of the paper and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the university, E Charles H Sykes, stated: "This is the first time that electrically-driven molecular motors have been demonstrated, despite a few theoretical proposals."
In related news, scientists from the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge have been using metallic nanostructures combined with the characteristics of graphene to develop technology that could enhance optical communications systems and boost internet speeds in the future.