Smallest electric engine could power nanomachines


A BLUEPRINT has been sketched out for the smallest ever electric motor, which could eventually be used to drive tiny conveyor belts or pumps in future nanomachines. The motor’s rotor is a long, coal-derived molecule called anthracene, which spins around an axle composed of two ethynyl units. Each end of this axle is connected to an electrode, and a third electrode – called the gate – is located slightly below the axle. Applying an alternating current to this gate electrode sets up an oscillating electric field that surrounds the molecular motor and, according to the researchers’ calculations,
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