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Scientists Find Fastest, Smallest Nanomotor Yet


Image credit: Cockrell School of Engineering at UT.

The application of nanotechnology in the medical field is mainly focused on drug delivery without harming any healthy cells.

In addition to this useful approach, there are still more applications at present, the nanomotors are one of them. By using energy to move, nanomotors, the device opposing to nanoparticles, generally rely on biochemical signaling.

A research group hosted by Emma Fan from the University of Texas has developed the smallest, fastest, and longest lasting nanomotor so far. The latest information about their nanomotor has been released in recent edition of Nature Communications.

The rotating speed of previously nanomotors was nearly 14-500 RPMs for a few minutes at the maximum. However, the nanomotor developed by Fan and his team can rotate at 18,000 RPMs for an continually amazing 15 hours. Being smaller than a human cell, the device is no bigger than 1 micrometer, 500 times smaller than a grain of salt. This powerful movement could enable the nanomotor to move through a liquid medium, which is a useful part within our body.

In their experiment, Fan and his team coated biochemicals onto the nanomotor for simulation of drug delivery. Actually, the faster the rotating speed of the nanomotor is enhanced, the more rapidly the chemicals were released. It is very fundamental in regard to drug delivery, because the drug’s efficacy greatly depends on timing of dispersal.

According to Fan’s statement, they were capable of establishing and controlling the molecule release rate by the means of mechanical rotation and their nanomotor was the first of its kind in terms of controlling the release of drugs from the surface of nanoparticles. It was strongly believed that their nanomotor could helpful in promotion of the study of drug delivery as well as cell-to-cell communications.

In this three-part nanomotor, AC and DC fields are used for the assembling the nanowire, microelectrode as well as nano magnetic. When the nanomotor is assembled, magnetic forces will activate and move it. In this case, the nanowire can be capable of spinning in both clockwise and counterclockwise way, so that they will be in right position for joint work for a more satisfactory result.

What Fan’s team is looking for in the next steps of their research will utilize the nanomotors in a more life-true situation to allow the nanomotor administer biochemicals again, although at present it is just near living cells. As their ultimate aim, Fan’s team is intended to develop a nano machine with arms, which is capable of literally grab onto diseased cells for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment in real practice.

Source: The University of Texas at Austin