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Discovery

Chemist Aims to Turn Molecules Into Motors

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Photo of Charles Sykes and two graduate students using a scanning tunneling microscope.

Tufts University assistant professor Charles Sykes and two graduate students, Erin Iski and April Jewell, use a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) in their lab at Tufts University.

Credit: Joanie Tobin/Tufts University Photography


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Photo of Charles Sykes and graduate students looking at images of molecules on a computer screen.

Tufts University assistant professor Charles Sykes and two graduate students, Erin Iski and April Jewell, look at images of molecules on a computer screen in their lab at Tufts University.

Credit: Joanie Tobin/Tufts University Photography


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STM image of five molecular rotors spinning at over 1 million times per second when heated to 78 K.

An STM image of five molecular rotors, just one nanometer wide, spinning at over 1 million times per second when heated to a temperature of 78 degrees Kelvin (-320 degrees F).

Credit: Charles Sykes, Tufts University


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STM images showing a spinning molecular rotor braked by moving it toward a static molecular chain.

STM images show how a spinning molecular rotor can be "braked" by physically moving it towards a chain of static molecules.

Credit: Charles Sykes, Tufts University


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