Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Single molecule motor inspired by natural energy conversion

24.01.2006


A single molecule working as the nano scale version of the steam engine: that’s the molecular motor developed by a group of UT scientists led by prof. Julius Vancso of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology. Natural ‘motor molecules’, capable of converting chemical energy into movement, have been the source of inspiration for this new synthetic version: a polymer molecule that stretches and shrinks caused by redox reactions. The results appear on the cover of Rapid Macromolecular Rapid Communications of January 23 .


The cycle of oxidation and reduction, causing soft/hard transitions within the molecule. The associated stretching and shrinking gives the mechanical energy. The forces are monitored by the tip of an Atomic Force Microscope, on top of the molecule. The bottom of the chain is fixed on a gold surface.



In nature, some proteins are capable of converting chemical into mechanical energy, by burning ‘fuel molecules’. The synthetic version now presented is a polymer chain, fixed on a surface on one side. Fully stretched, this molecule is a few tens of nanometers long. A cyclic process can be started, in which parts of the chain alternately harden and soften. The result is an amount of mechanical energy, sufficient for driving future nano devices like pumps, valves and levers.

Iron


Just like in nature, redox reactions are the basis for the working principle of the engine: during reduction and oxidation, electrons are interchanged. To stimulate these reactions, iron is introduced within the polymer chain (PFS: polyferrocenydimethylsilane). This iron is alternately oxidized and reduced when the chain is put on a suitable voltage level. This cyclic process causes the soft/hard transitions and the shrinking and stretching of the chain. The researchers now use an atomic force microscope to be able to sense the forces and to get hold of the molecule on the top side. They estimate the efficiency of the conversion to be ten percent. Compared to conversion processes in nature: using photo synthesis, plants convert energy with an efficiency of 13 percent, and the estimated efficiency of the conversion of the chemical energy of food within the human body is about five percent.

A major additional advantage of the new molecular motor presented is that it can be positioned very accurately and controlled on a surface. In this way, it is possible to create a true array of engines and connect the nano devices to them. The distance between the motors can be kept very small. In light-driven nanomotors earlier presented, the minimum distance was limited by the wavelength of the light used, for example.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Further information:
http://mtp.tnw.utwente.nl

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht One-way roads for spin currents
23.05.2018 | Singapore University of Technology and Design

nachricht Tunable diamond string may hold key to quantum memory
23.05.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>