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Science

Electric Motor Made From a Single Molecule 82

An anonymous reader writes "For the first time, an electric motor has been made from a single molecule. At 1 nanometre long, it's the smallest electric motor ever. Its creators plan to submit their design to Guinness World Records, but the teeny motor could have practical applications, such as pushing fluid through narrow pipes in 'lab-on-a-chip' devices. E. Charles Sykes at Tufts University in Boston and colleagues anchored lopsided butyl methyl sulphide to a copper surface and flowed current through it."
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Electric Motor Made From a Single Molecule

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  • by confused one (671304) on Monday September 05, 2011 @12:43PM (#37309208)
    Not unusual for the major scientific journals to require payment if you don't have a membership.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 05, 2011 @12:51PM (#37309252)

    Impressive yes, but it looks like they`re defining a motor as an armateur while ignoring the equipment that generates the electric fields.

    No.

    FTFA:

    the molecule's hops were not random but slightly biased towards rotating clockwise, allowing the researchers to classify it as a motor.

    Definition of electric motor [wikimedia.org]

    An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.

    If you're going to be a pedant on Slashdot, you really need to practice more - Mr. Over-a-million-user-id

  • Liquid Crystals (Score:5, Informative)

    by SMoynihan (1647997) on Monday September 05, 2011 @12:54PM (#37309272)

    Liquid crystal molecules (e.g., the cyanobiphenyls with aliphatic tails which form E7) have lengths of ca. 2 nm. These definitely respond to external electric or magnetic fields to spin and reorient (otherwise, you'd likely be looking at a fairly boring screen right now...)

    The novelty here is that the researchers have formed a pivot about which the structure rotates. Further, they seem to have overcome any electrostatic attraction to the surface which would act to lock the molecule in place.

    Interesting stuff.

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