The base of the device holds a Ru atom, and the five-armed device can rotate on top of it.
Image from Perera et. al., Nature Nanotechnology

Single-molecule motor sits on a single-atom ball bearing

Can be run forward or in reverse, depending on where electrons are injected.

by John Timmer – Dec 30 2012, 2:30pm EST

For some time now, researchers have been managing to craft ever-smaller devices, though they’re approaching the problem from two directions. Some researchers are etching small features into chips to carve out nanoscale versions of familiar devices. But others are taking advantage of our ability to synthesize and interact with individual molecules to create systems that are only a few dozen atoms across. And, in many cases, these single-molecule devices look disturbingly like their full-scale counterparts.

When last we left single-molecule motors, they were four wheeling across a sheet of copper, powered by electrons fed in by an atomic force microscope. In the latest iteration, researchers have managed to create a reversible rotor that sits atop a ball bearing—but in this case, the bearing is a single ruthenium atom.

Read more: Single-molecule motor sits on a single-atom ball bearing | Ars Technica.

Home           Top of page