The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), a research institute of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), puts Singapore into the Guinness Book of World Records with its controllable, molecule-sized gears, which are officially the world’s smallest! The gears are up 100,000 times smaller than the width of a single strand of hair and can only be viewed using powerful microscopes.
The gear is made out of a hexa-t-butyl-pyrimidopentaphenylbenzene (C64N2H76; HB-NBP) molecule, which consists of a central core composed of one pyrimidine and five phenyl rings all connected to a central planar phenyl. This is connected to the ‘spokes’ of the wheel which is made up of six t-butyl outer groups that lift the central molecule core, or ‘hub’ from the substrate surface. Copyright : A*STAR
Singapore, 05 September 2011 – It’s official! Researchers from IMRE have put Singapore into the Guinness Book of World Records by successfully demonstrating the world’s smallest fully controlled rotation of a molecule-sized gear. The research opens the way for the future development of molecule-sized machines that may lead to innovations like pocket-sized supercomputers, miniature energy harvesting devices and data computing on atomic scale electronic circuits.
Before the team’s success, reported experiments attempting to rotate single molecules resulted in their random and uncontrolled rotation. The scientists from IMRE were able to solve the matter by manipulating the molecule with the tip of a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope, which is a powerful microscopy tool capable of imaging materials down to their atoms but which can also be used to manipulate single molecules and atoms on conductive surfaces. These experiments were done at cryogenic temperatures, of approximately -266°C, in an ultrahigh vacuum environment.
Looking like a wheel, the gear is made out of a hexa-t-butyl-pyrimidopentaphenylbenzene (C64N2H76; HB-NBP) molecule, which consists of a central core composed of one pyrimidine and five phenyl rings all connected to a central planar phenyl. This is connected to the ‘spokes’ of the wheel which are made up of six t-butyl outer groups that lift the central molecule core from the substrate surface. The molecule was mounted on an atom-sized impurity that acted as a pinning axle and manipulated using the microscope’s tip which turned the molecule step-by-step.
“This is an example of pioneering science that is technologically significant. With such innovations at the molecular level, today's molecules may be tomorrow's machines,” explained Prof Andy Hor, IMRE’s Executive Director.
The breakthrough gear was developed in 2009 and was published in one of science’s most prestigious materials research journals, Nature Materials.
For media enquiries, please contact:Mr Eugene Low (Manager, Corporate Communications)
For more information about IMRE, please visit www.imre.a-star.edu.sg.
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centres, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their immediate vicinity. A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, and with other local and international partners.
Novel sensors could enable smarter textiles
17.08.2018 | University of Delaware
Quantum material is promising 'ion conductor' for research, new technologies
17.08.2018 | Purdue University
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences