Artificial nanomachines will play a critical role in the future of nanotechnology by building nanoscopic devices that cannot be built by successive miniaturization technologies. However, those nanomachines could be built from the bottom up using molecules. The size of the desired nanomachines is about 2 nm by 3 nm. One could park 30,000 of them across the diameter of human hair. The remaining challenges are the incorporation of a motor and the features needed to monitor the motion of the nanomachine, since it is far too small to see with the human eye.
James M. Tour, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA, and colleagues achieved the synthesis of the first light-operated motorized nanocar that is also highly fluorescent. This fluorescence will allow the collection and study of the nanocar trajectories on glass surfaces by using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy. The work reflects the importance of a well-tailored structural design that unifies the mechanism of propulsion and the requisite monitoring component strategy.
- Synthesis of a Light-Driven Motorized Nanocar,
Victor García-López, Pin-Lei E. Chu, Pinn-Tsong Chiang, Jiuzhi Sun, Angel A. Martí, James M. Tour,
Asian J. Org. Chem. 2015.