The world’s smallest working gear!
A Guinness World Record
IMRE scientists and their collaborators from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) have officially demonstrated the world’s smallest, fully controlled rotation of a molecule-sized gear. The achievement which was published in a 2009 Nature Materials paper was recognised in the most recent issue of the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest.
The research opens the way for the future development of molecule-sized machines that may lead to innovations like pocket-sized supercomputers, miniature energy harvesting devices and data computing on atomic scale electronic circuits.
Before the team’s success, attempts to rotate single molecules resulted in their random and uncontrolled rotation. The IMRE and CNRS scientists were able to solve the matter by manipulating the molecule-gear with the tip of a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope, which is a powerful microscopy tool capable of imaging materials down to their atoms but which can also be used to manipulate a single molecule or one atom at a time on conductive surfaces.
Step-by-step rotation of a molecule-gear mounted on an atomic-scale axis
Nature Materials 8, 576 - 579 (2009)
- Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, 3 Research Link, 117602, Singapore
- CEMES, CNRS, 29 rue J. Marvig, 31055 Toulouse Cedex, France