Ultra-Small Nano Machines - Masters Of The Nano-World

Our growing technical mastery of the nanoworld will open up a plethora of new technical possibilities, including Feynman's vision of ultra-small machines operating at the level of single atoms. 

  • Nanowheels, nanomotors, and even a nano-elevator have previously been constructed.
  • There is a nano-car with four distinct motors installed on a central support, powered by the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. 

Nanotechnologists can make things even smaller. 

  • A single bent thioether molecule lying on a copper surface makes up the world's tiniest electric motor, which is only a nanometre in size. 
  • Two differing length hydrocarbon chains (a butyl and a methyl group) hang like small arms on a central sulphur atom in this molecule. 
  • The whole molecule is connected to the copper surface in a way that allows it to freely spin. It is powered by a scanning tunneling microscope, whose electrons use the tunnel effect to excite the molecule's rotating degrees of freedom. 
  • The electrical current and the outside temperature can affect the motor's operating speed.  Nanomachines are currently being developed. 
  • The molecular motor is on par with the electric motor in the 1830s in terms of progress. Nobody could have predicted that the electric motor would one day be used to power trains, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners in 1830. 

When voting on the 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm foresaw a comparable promise for molecular nanomachines. 

Molecular motors are anticipated to be employed in sensors, energy storage systems, and the production of novel materials in the near future. 

Nanotechnology has progressed in a number of ways that have mostly gone unnoticed by the general public: 

• The first generation of nanotechnology products, such as Damascus steel, were still passive materials with well-defined properties that did not change when used. 

• The second generation of nanotechnology products, on the other hand, produced tiny machines that “do work”—in other words, they drive an active process, such as a transport vehicle for targeted drug delivery in the body (see below). Nanostructures now interact and react directly with other substances, causing them to change and/or their surroundings. 

• A third generation of nanotechnologies, known as "integrated nano-systems," is already on the horizon. Various active nano-components, such as copiers, sensors, motors, transistors, and so on, are employed as components and built into a working whole, similar to how an engine, clutch, electronics, tires, and so on, when combined, become a car. This paves the door for more complicated nanomachines to emerge.


Couple nanostructures with varied characteristics and capacities into sophisticated nanomachines is the next stage in nanotechnology.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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