World’s smallest fuelled motor invented in Manchester

Professor Dave Leigh's group produces a tiny nano-motor fuelled by chemicals that is two millionths of a millimetre wide.

The first autonomous chemically-fuelled molecular motor makes a splash!

Scientists in the School of Chemistry at the University of Manchester have created the world’s smallest fuelled motor. Team leader Professor David Leigh says that the ‘nanomotor’ is just two millionths of a millimetre wide. Unlike motor cars the nanomotor does not run off petrol or diesel but rather uses a chemical fuel called ‘Fmoc-chloride’. Such tiny motors have the potential to power tasks in molecular nanotechnology, such as transporting tiny amounts of substances for analysis and being the power-pack for nanoscale robots and molecular factories.

The research is reported in Nature534, 235-240 (2016). For further information see the Leigh group website

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