World's Fastest, Smallest, and Longest-Running Nanomotor to Power Future Medical Devices
Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin say they have built the smallest, fastest, and longest-running tiny synthetic motor to date. The nanomotor can convert electrical energy into mechanical motion on a scale 500 times smaller than a grain of salt, and is an important step toward developing miniature machines that could one day move through the body for controlled biochemical drug delivery to live cells. The three-part nanomotor can rapidly mix and pump biochemicals and move through liquids. With all its dimensions under one micrometer in size, the nanomotor could fit inside a human cell and is capable of rotating for 15 continuous hours at a speed of 18,000 RPMs - the speed of a motor in a jet airplane engine. Comparable nanomotors run significantly more slowly, from 14 RPMs to 500 RPMs, and have only rotated for a few seconds up to a few minutes.