A University of Colorado at Boulder team has developed the first computer-generated model of a tiny, waterwheel-like molecular rotor that has been harnessed to rotate in one direction at different speeds in response to changes in the strength of an electrical field applied from the outside.
The synthetic molecule features a chemical axle with two attached "paddles" carrying opposite electrical charges, which is mounted parallel to a gold substrate surface, said Professor Josef Michl of CU-Boulders chemistry and biochemistry department. The researchers found that the microscopic rotor -- constructed with a few hundred atoms -- will turn in a desired direction at a selected frequency using an oscillating electrical field concentrated in a tiny area above the molecule.
Such molecular rotors may someday function as nanotechnology machines and be used as chemical sensors, cell-phone switches, miniature pumps or even laser-blocking goggles, he said. A paper by Michl and former CU-Boulder postdoctoral student Dominik Horinek, the Feodr Lynen Fellow of the German Humboldt Foundation, appeared in the Oct. 4 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Josef Michl | EurekAlert!
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Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
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Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
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