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Light-driven 'Molecular Brakes' Provide Stopping Power For Nanomachines

Date:
May 27, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers in Taiwan report development of a new type of "molecular brake" that could provide on-demand stopping power for futuristic nanomachines. The brake, thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair, is powered by light and is the first capable of working at room temperature, the researchers say.

Researchers in Taiwan report development of a new type of "molecular brake" that could provide on-demand stopping power for futuristic nanomachines. The brake, thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair, is powered by light and is the first capable of working at room temperature, the researchers say.

Their study is scheduled for the June 5 issue of ACS' Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal.

In the new study, Jye-Shane Yang and colleagues point out that the ability to control specific motions of small molecules or larger molecular structures is essential for the development of nanomachines. Some of these machines may find use in delivering drugs or performing surgery deep inside the human body.

Although scientists have already built molecular motors, wheels, and gears for powering nanomachines, the development of a practical braking system remains a challenge, the researchers say.

Yang’s group assembled a prototype molecular brake that resembles a tiny four-bladed wheel and contains light-sensitive molecules. The paddle-like structure spins freely when a nanomachine is in motion. In laboratory studies, the scientists showed that exposing the structure to light changes its shape so that "blades" stop spinning, putting on the brakes. The braking power can be turned off by altering the wavelength of light exposure, they add.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yang, Jye-Shane, Huang, Yao-Ting, Ho, Jinn-Hsuan, Sun, Wei-Ting, Huang, Hsin-Hau, Lin, Ying-Chih, Huang, Shing-Jong, Huang, Shou-Ling, Lu, Hsiu-Feng, and Chao, Ito. A Pentiptycene-Derived Light-Driven Molecular Brake. Org. Lett., 2008 doi: 10.1021/ol800689a

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Light-driven 'Molecular Brakes' Provide Stopping Power For Nanomachines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080526153228.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, May 27). Light-driven 'Molecular Brakes' Provide Stopping Power For Nanomachines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080526153228.htm
American Chemical Society. "Light-driven 'Molecular Brakes' Provide Stopping Power For Nanomachines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080526153228.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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