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August 11, 2006

Motorized Nanocar

This animation depicts two motorized nanocars on a gold surface. The nanocar consists of a rigid chassis and four alkyne axles that spin freely and swivel independently of one another. The wheels are spherical molecules of carbon, hydrogen and boron called p-carborane. The car's light-powered motor is attached mid-chassis. When struck by light, it rotates in one direction, pushing the car along like a paddlewheel.

Rice University chemist Jim Tour and colleagues described the world's first motorized nanocar in the April 13, 2006, issue of Organic Letters. The light-powered vehicle consists of just 169 atoms and is a test transport system that could one day deliver molecular cargo for nanoscale construction.

This research received center support from the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Penn State. For complete details about the research, see the April 12, 2006, Rice University press release Rice scientists attach motor to single-molecule car. (Date of Image: April 2006)

Credit: Yasuhiro Shirai, Rice University

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