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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Microscopic motor

Nonotechnologies are technologies where characteristics are embedded on a molecular basis.

Nanotechnologies, although not yet visible except in making silicon chips, are going to change our lives in the years to come.

This story / news appeared in TIMES OF INDIA, Mumbai Edition dt.15th April 2006.

Microscopic motor for world’s smallest car

Last year scientists announced they had made the smallest car ever, a moleculesized vehicle that rolled on tiny wheels. But what good is a car without a motor? In another feat in the effort to truly downsize Detroit, the researchers have now installed a miniature, light-powered motor in their diminutive automobile. The nanocar is about as wide as a strand of DNA. Roughly 20,000 of them could park side-by-side in a lot no wider than a human hair. Such small devices will one day be used to transport drugs to specific destinations inside the human body, researchers say. They could also be used to manufacture tiny factories or help run miniscule computers. For now, the itty bitty cars are largely an exercise in nano-construction, a way to test assembly methods and materials. “We want to construct things from the bottom up, one molecule at a time, in much the same way that biological cells use enzymes to assemble proteins and other supermolecules,” said lead researcher James Tour of Rice University. The motor was developed by Ben Feringa at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. - Agencies

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