MAY 24, 2018 11:26 AM PDT

The Rise of Molecular Machines

From the early theoretical framework laid down by famed physicist Richard Feynman, to the inaugural paper titled "Molecular Engineering: An Approach to the Development of General Capabilities for Molecular Manipulation" by Eric Drexler the nanotech pioneer, and eventually the Nobel recognition to the three molecular machine musketeers Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa, the idea of constructing miniature devices at the molecular level that can mimic functions at the macroscopic world has come a long, long way.

In 2011, a nanosized "car" made out of small molecules took the world by storm. The nanocar, developed by  Bernard Feringa's group at the University of Groningen, is a molecule-sized four wheeler powered by his own design of molecular motor. It can drive across a copper surface under the manipulation of an electrical current. Since then many other molecular machines have been built to perform a diverse range of mechanical works, such as a nanosized assembling arm that rotates on its axil and picks up a small molecule, a molecular motor-powered pump that pumps solute component, and a rotary molecule that winds polymer chains.

The field of molecular machines has yet reached its maturity, despite numerous progress has been made over the last decade. Commenting on where the field is heading towards, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart said: "We’re on a very early part of a very steep learning curve. Chemistry is a fundamental science and it needs some space in which to develop the fundamentals. It’s going to be a slow process and it may take decades to develop the field to a stage where it’s applied to whatever the technology of the day is, but then suddenly it will take off, and people will see what all that fundamental development can lead to."

Source: SciShow via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
You May Also Like
NOV 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2019
Will India Be the First Nation to Land a Spacecraft on the Moon's South Pole?
India’s space agency, dubbed the Indian Space Research Organization (or ISRO for short), is aiming to land a spacecraft at the Moon’s South Pol...
NOV 14, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 14, 2019
Study Traced 2017 Mysterious Cloud of Radiation to Russian Nuclear Facility
In late September 2017, meteorology and monitoring stations across Europe detected a spike of radiation in the air, suggesting an undeclared atmospheric re...
NOV 14, 2019
Microbiology
NOV 14, 2019
Using Peptides to Remodel the Microbiome
Now that we know so much more about the bacteria we carry in our bodies, it may be possible to start using that bacteria to improve our health....
NOV 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2019
The Science Behind the Hubble Deep Field Image
The Hubble Space Telescope launched into low orbit around the Earth in 1990, and it was only a few years later that the space-based observatory captured a...
NOV 14, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 14, 2019
Will Thorium Reactors Have a Future in Clean Energy?
In its pure form, thorium is a silver-black colored metal. Named after Thor, the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder, it is the 90th element on the period...
NOV 14, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 14, 2019
Examining the Squirrelly Ones: Wearable MEG Scanner that Suits Pediatric Patients
In a recent study, a joint research team at the University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, and University College London successfully tested a ne...
Loading Comments...