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Molecule Walks like a Human

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posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 06:51 AM

"Using linkers for feet (shown in red),
the molecule "9,10-dithioanthracene"
moves in a straight line on a flat
surface, such as a copper sheet
shown here, by mimicking a human
walking. Photo credit: L. Bartels."

In what could be a huge step forward towards the realization of molecular memory and other forms of nano-manipulation a research team at UC Riverside has become the first to design a molecule that can move in a straight line when fed energy.

Press release

“Similar to a human walking, where one foot is kept on the ground while the other moves forward and propels the body, our molecule always has one linker on a flat surface, which prevents the molecule from stumbling to the side or veering off course,” said Bartels, assistant professor of chemistry and a member of UCR’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering. “In tests, DTA took more than 10,000 steps without losing its balance once. Our work proves that molecules can be designed deliberately to perform certain dynamic tasks on surfaces.”

Bartels explained that, ordinarily, molecules move in every unpredictable direction when supplied with thermal energy. “DTA only moves along one line, however, and retains this property even if pushed or pulled aside with a fine probe.” Bartels said. “This offers an easy realization of a concept for molecular computing proposed by IBM in the 1990s, in which every number is encoded by the position of molecules along a line similar to an abacus, but about 10 million times smaller. IBM abandoned this concept, partly because there was no way to manufacture the bars of the abacus at molecule-sized spacing.

“DTA does not need any bars to move in a straight line and, hence, would allow a much simpler way of creating such molecular memory, which would be more than 1000 times more compact than current devices.”

The UCR research team is now trying to build a molecular ratchet, which would convert random thermal oscillation into directed motion. “It would be similar to an automatic watch that rewinds itself on the arm of the bearer – except that it would be just one nanometer in diameter,” Bartels said.

Facisnating breakthrough. There's been a flurry of these as of late, I've noted before that they seem to be happening more often and in greater numbers every year now.

[edit on 27-10-2005 by sardion2000]

posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 09:23 AM
The reason you're seeing more of these is that we finally have the tools to manipulate atoms and molecules at this level. As we do more of this work, development will come at an even quicker pace.

I'm not up on my engineering, so I don't know what possible directions this could take (Star Trek style replicators?), but it's interesting and exciting.

Thanks for finding this one!

posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 09:36 AM
I can't wait to see how things have progressed with nanotechnology say 15 years down the road. Just think back 15 years ago from now how much different A LOT of things were.

posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 09:40 AM
Here is a similiar breakthrough I posted a few days back.

Nanocar built from a single molecule

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