Feeds

Boffins build electric car from a single molecule

Titchy transport won't get you far

Seven Steps to Software Security

Dutch scientists have reported building a car that's a single molecule wide and is powered by electrons.

The car is built out of a single molecule for the body, with four paddle-shaped “wheels” at the corners. Then electrons were applied by moving the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope close to the device, causing the wheels to be rotated 180 degrees and move the car forward, albeit only by six billionths of a meter after ten electron charges (video here).

Molecular Car

Don't give up the Ferrari

“Scanning tunneling microscopy confirms that activation of the conformational changes of the rotors through inelastic electron tunneling propels the molecule unidirectionally across a Cu(111) surface,” the research team in their report, which was published in Nature.

“The system can be adapted to follow either linear or random surface trajectories or to remain stationary, by tuning the chirality of the individual motor units. Our design provides a starting point for the exploration of more sophisticated molecular mechanical systems with directionally controlled motion.”

Before nanomachine enthusiasts get excited, there is a very long way to go before this has any real-world applications. The entire unit containing the car had to be cooled to seven kelvins (-266 °C) and in a near vacuum for the systems to work, and it is still a long way from a useful application.

In the long term it’s hoped that systems like this could be used to deliver specific materials automatically, either as part of building a larger object or possibly for medical purposes, to send specific medicines to internal locations. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.