SINGAPORE, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Scientists in Singapore have scored a
breakthrough in nanotechnology by inventing a molecular gear whose rotation can
be deliberately controlled, Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and
Research (A*STAR) said on Monday.
Scientists from A*STAR's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering
(IMRE) discovered the way to successfully control the rotation of a
single-molecule gear with the size of 1.2 nm, which is via the optimization of
molecular design, molecular manipulation and surface atomic chemistry.
"This was a breakthrough because before the team's discovery, motions of
molecular rotors and gears were random and typically consisted of a mix of
rotation and lateral displacement," the A*STAR said in an statement, adding that
the scientists solved this scientific conundrum by proving that the rotation of
the molecule-gear could be well-controlled.
Christian Joachim, the leading scientist of the research said, "Making a
gear the size of a few atoms is one thing, but being able to deliberately
control its motions and actions is something else altogether."
"What we've done at IMRE is to create a truly complete working gear that
will be the fundamental piece in creating more complex molecular machines that
are no bigger than a grain of sand," Joachim added.