Nano Science and Technology Institute

Tufts University Researchers Create World’s Tiniest Electric Engine

The nano engine is made of a single molecule and can be operated with electricity-a groundbreaking first

The single-molecule electric engine motor is only 1 nanometer across in size. Single-molecule motors have been created in the past, but powered by either chemicals or light. These sources of power have been limiting to scientists due to their time consuming nature and that the power cannot be harnessed into a single molecule.

In the Tufts University press release, the institution notes, "The excitement is in the demonstration that you can provide electricity to a single molecule and get it to do something that's not just random," says team leader Charles Sykes, an associate professor of chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Someday, these powerful single molecular engines could be used for advanced sensors and medical test devices.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Beckman Foundation, and the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement.

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