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Nanocar Race II

It is still possible to register until June 2021 ! In case please contact for conditions Nanocar Race II Director Christian Joachim (christian.joachim [at] cemes.fr)

The European FET OPEN MEMO ("Mechanics with Molecules") project is organizing the 2nd international molecule-car race (Nanocar Race II), which will take place at the start of 2022 at CEMES-CNRS in Toulouse. Pre-registrations for Nanocar Race II are closed. The certification of the 10 teams already registered is underway and will end at the end of 2021.

Nanocar Race is a playful idea to advance research with mobile "machines" at the atomic scale. With about 100 atoms and a lateral size of a few nanometers, a nanocar is a molecule with a distinguishable front and rear. Its chemical structure allows the nanocar to move on a surface when electrons flow through it from the STM tip. A Nanocar driver is using the electrons from the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to drive its dedicated molecule along a pre-determined surface track, typically by just a tenth of a nanometer each time (100 pm), so that the nanocar race takes place on a very small scale. The propulsion mechanism can be either inelastic (related to the excitation of vibrational modes or to current-induced structural changes) or dipolar, resulting from the repulsion or attraction between the nanocar and the STM tip.

In September 2018, the organization committee had screened 23 teams pre-registrations for Nanocar Race II and fix the official surfaces and conditions (see https://memo-project.eu/flatCMS/index.php/Nanocar-Race-II). Then, already 10 teams finally registered by January 2020. After March 2020, the team certification process was slow down due to the C-19 pandemia. Each registred team has now up to end October 2021 to consolidate its nanocar design, the synthesis of the molecule-vehicle and the training on its Lab STM to be certified. The list of the teams from all around the world certified for Nanocar Race II will be released officially in October 2021 and all the teams officially presented in November 2021. All teams will compete at the same time in an STM remote-controlled mode from Toulouse beginning of year 2022. The competition will be live broadcasted worldwide.

The Nanocar Race II organization committee is composed by

  • F. Moresco (MEMO & LT-UHV)
  • A.S. Duwez (MEMO & ambient)
  • C. Joachim (MEMO & Europe)
  • S.W. Hla (America)
  • M. Ariga (Japan)
  • H. Gao (Asia)

with the Patronage of J.P. Sauvage (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016).

The first official sponsor for Nanocar Race II is the Foundation “Maison de la Chimie”. (https://maisondelachimie.com/). Sponsors from all over the world are very welcome.


About the MEMO project

The European FET OPEN project MEMO (Mechanics with Molecules), started in October 2017, has the goal to construct and test single molecule machines on a surface one at a time, controlling the rotation and the work delivered by a single molecule-motor directly at the atomic scale. MEMO will create the first miniaturization roadmap for mechanical machinery. The MEMO project is coordinated by Francesca Moresco at the TU Dresden and brings together six partners at the forefront of European research for the development of molecule-machines and nanofabrication : the Technische Universität Dresden (TU-Dresden) in Germany, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, the Agencia estatal consejo superior de investigaciones cientificas (CSIC) in Spain, the University of Graz in Austria, the Université de Liège in Belgium, and the University of Manchester in UK. 


Project website of Nanocar Race II :


The first Nanocar Race was held in Toulouse in April 2017, and was followed live by more than 100,000 people per minute on a dedicated Youtube-channel.