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 Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time
17.10.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging
17.10.2017 | American Association for the Advancement of Science

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>