Saturday, 12 January 2013

Walking Molecules!

Nanomotors are used throughout biology to perform tasks. Spectacular examples include the motor protein myosin that makes muscles contract by "walking" along molecular tracks in the cell. 

Professor David Leigh's group have made the first synthetic walking molecules that move directionally along molecular tracks. The ultimate goal of such research is to produce artificial molecular vehicles that can transport cargoes and perform other complex tasks at the nanoscale. 

However, such 'molecular engineering' is not easy: at the molecular level gravity is too weak to hold the walkers onto tracks and special molecular glue, footholds and attachment points all have to be carefully designed to make a successful walking molecule (see video). 

Credit: Professor David Leigh and co-workers, University of Manchester

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