Scientists from Rice University (USA) and Graz University (Austria) have mastered the technology of controlling "three-wheeled" single molecules using light.
Inventor and chemist from Rice's laboratory, James Tour, six years ago synthesized light-driven nano-cars. Now, thanks to joint efforts with colleagues from Austria, it has become possible to control simultaneously entire fleets of these vehicles the size of one molecule.
At the upcoming international nanocar race, the NanoCar Race, which will soon take place in Toulouse, most of the participants will be accelerated using a chemical treatment or a tunnel microscope. The new technology involves the use of light waves of a certain length to move nano-cars along a copper surface. They have rear wheels rotating in the same direction from the molecular motors at the moment light hits them.
Nano-cars are made up of 112 atoms and reach speeds of 23 nanometers per hour. The optimum surface temperature is -170 ° C. At colder temperatures, the "wheels" stick to the surface, and at higher temperatures, diffusion begins.
According to James Tour, the new technology "will allow nanomachines to be used as ants for a common task."
Recall that the Dutch scientist Bernard Fehring was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention of the molecular engine.