1867 nanomachine now reality
- URL to an article about nanotechnology in CNN
Maxwell's Demon? I love it.
First few paragraphs
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Nearly 150 years ago it was no more than a
concept by a visionary scientist, but researchers have now created a minuscule
motor that could lead to the creation of microscopic nanomachines.
Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell first imagined an atom-size device
dubbed Maxwell's Demon in 1867. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have
made it a reality.
"We have a new motor mechanism for a nanomachine," said David Leigh, a
professor of chemistry at the University.
A nanomachine is an incredibly tiny device whose parts consist of single
molecules. Nature uses nanomachines for everything from photosynthesis to moving
muscles in the body and transferring information through cells.
Scientists are trying to unravel the secrets of nanomachines and
nanotechnology, which works on a tiny scale. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or
about 80,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.
"Molecular machines allow life itself to occur at a molecular level. Our new
motor mechanism is a small step towards doing that sort of thing with
artificial molecular machines," Leigh told Reuters.
His mechanism traps molecular-sized particles as they move. As Maxwell had
predicted long ago, it does not need energy because it is powered by light.
"While light has previously been used to energize tiny particles directly,
this is the first time that a system has been devised to trap molecules as they
move in a certain direction under their natural motion," said Leigh who
reported the findings in the journal Nature.
"Once the molecules are trapped, they cannot escape."
Leigh credits Maxwell for establishing the fundamentals for understanding how
light, heat and molecules behave.
In an earlier study, he and his team showed that a nanomachine could move a
drop up water uphill by using molecular force. Although the movement was
small, it was a big step in learning to make machines with artificial molecules.
The new motor mechanism will enable scientists to do things that are much
closer to what biological machines do."
(I hereby reject your reality and substitute my own)
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