Nano Motor Powered By Solar Energy

Here‘s an interesting article about a nano motor that runs on solar energy alone.

Chemists at Italy’s University of Bologna , UCLA and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) have designed and constructed a molecular motor of nanometer size that does not consume fuels; their nano motor is powered only by sunlight. The research, federally funded by the National Science Foundation, will be published Jan. 31 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The nano motor can work continuously without any external interference, and operates without consuming or generating chemical fuels or waste, said Fraser Stoddart, UCLA’s Fred Kavli Professor of NanoSystems Sciences and CNSI Director.

“We design and make sunlight-powered nano motors and then ‘test drive’ them much as an engineer would a new motor car,” Stoddart said. “It is as if we had managed to get a solar powered motor car onto the road and running.”

Precisely how light-powered nano motors will be used in the future is not yet clear, Stoddart said, but he listed a number of possible areas for applications: nanoelectronics, molecular computers, and nano valves that perhaps could be used for the delivery of anti-cancer drugs and other medications.

This is interesting for two reasons:

  1. It demonstrates the feasibility of building machines at the molecular level, something which will have great consequences for society in the not too distant future.
  2. It chips away at the credibility of peak oil doomsday arguments that there will be no techno fix to save this planet from dwindling oil supplies.

See also Portable Personal Solar Cells.

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