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.
Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
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