Smallest working gears
Gears developed by the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering
Singapore ()
Researchers at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore, have developed working molecular-sized gears that can be fully controlled, rotating clockwise and counter clockwise. Based upon individual chains of molecules arranged with arms facing each point on a hexagon, the gear can rotate in either direction whilst pinned to a ridge on a ridge of gold. So far the gear has been rotated by nudging with the probe of a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope, but the successful operational demonstration of the gear in 2009 opens the path to fully developed molecular ‘energy into work’ engines that could power future generations of molecular machines.