Engineers develop first method for controlling nanomotors

phys.org | 9/19/2018 | Staff
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In a breakthrough for nanotechnology, engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed the first method for selecting and switching the mechanical motion of nanomotors among multiple modes with simple visible light as the stimulus.

The capability of mechanical reconfiguration could lead to a new class of controllable nanoelectromechanical and nanorobotic devices for a variety of fields including drug delivery, optical sensing, communication, molecule release, detection, nanoparticle separation and microfluidic automation.

Finding - Donglei - Emma - Fan - Associate

The finding, made by Donglei (Emma) Fan, associate professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Ph.D. candidate Zexi Liang, demonstrates how, depending on the intensity, light can instantly increase, stop and even reverse the rotation orientation of silicon nanomotors in an electric field. This effect and the underlying physical principles have been unveiled for the first time. It switches mechanical motion of rotary nanomotors among various modes instantaneously and effectively.

The researchers published their findings in the Sept. 14 issue of Science Advances.

Nanomotors - Devices - Energy - Movement - Levels

Nanomotors, which are nanoscale devices capable of converting energy into movement at the cellular and molecular levels, have the potential to be used in everything from drug delivery to nanoparticle separation.

Using light from a laser or light projector at strengths varying from visible to infrared, the UT researchers' novel technique for reconfiguring the motion of nanomotors is efficient and simple in its function. Nanomotors with tunable speed have already...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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