The ability to pump liquids at the cellular scale opens up exciting possibilities, such as precisely targeting medicines and regulating flow into and out of cells. But designing this molecular machinery has proven difficult.
Now chemists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have created a theoretical blueprint for assembling a nanoscale propeller with molecule-sized blades.
Developing the ability to design protein molecules will make it possible to construct molecular machines. These can then build second-generation machines that can perform extremely general synthesis of three-dimensional molecular structures, thus permitting construction of devices and materials to complex atomic specifications. This has important implications for computation and for characterization, manipulation, and repair of biological materials.
In this assay nanotech pioneer Eric Dexler provides his upgraded vision of future nanotechnology advances.
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Physicists at the University of California at Berkeley have produced images that show how light can control some of the smallest possible machines. By shining ultraviolet laser light on tiny molecules of azobenzene adhered on a layer of gold, they could force the molecules to change shape at will. Potentially, the molecules could be incorporated into nanomachines in the form of remotely controlled switches, pistons or other movable components.