Light-controlled gearbox for nanomachines

Rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016, nanomachines provide mechanical work on the smallest of scales. Yet at such small dimensions, molecular motors can complete this work in only one direction.

Researchers from the CNRS’s Institut Charles Sadron, led by Nicolas Giuseppone, a professor at the Université de Strasbourg, working in collaboration with the Laboratoire de mathématiques d’Orsay (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), have succeeded in developing more complex molecular machines that can work in one direction and its opposite. The system can even be controlled precisely, in the same way as a gearbox.

The study was published in Nature Nanotechnology (“Dual-light control of nanomachines that integrate motor and modulator subunits”).



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