Record Setting Nanomotor Built
Machines small enough to fit inside of one's body or even within cells have been somewhat common in science fiction. For some time now though, researchers have been working to make these machines a reality for medical applications. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have recently succeeded in building a nanomotor that is setting records.
The nanomotor is comprised of just three parts; a nanowire, a nanomagnet, and a microelectrode. These parts are assembled with AC and DC electric fields, which are also used to control the motor. The motor itself is less than one micrometer in any dimension, making it 500 times smaller than a grain of salt. Other nanomotors in this size range are able to rotate at 14 RPM to 500 RPM for up to a few minutes. This nanomotor however reached 18,000 RPM and maintained it for 15 hours. For comparison, the motor in a jet engine spins at the same speed.
To determine how useful it may be for medicine, the researchers coated it with drugs and found that they could control the rate of drug delivery, with the speed of the motor. Next the researchers plan to test the motor next to live cells and develop other components of nanoelectromechanical devices, such as new mechanical controls and chemical sensors.
Source: University of Texas at Austin