Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Seeing Engineers Everywhere Now

I don’t pretend to understand the significance of these new developments in molecular technology, but recent connections for me at work have opened networking opportunities with engineers, and now the word “engineer” is catching my attention whenever/wherever it shows up. This handiwork from professors of mechanical engineering, computer engineering, and electrical engineering showcases a one-molecule nano-“car” that is a little wider than a strand of DNA and comes complete with a working chassis, axle, and wheels.

Its wheels are hollow spheres composed entirely of carbon atoms, known to chemists as buckminsterfullerenes (named for the inventor Buckminster Fuller), or buckyballs for short. This means that the nanocar functions much like a real automobile, moving forward at an angle of 90 degrees to its axles as its wheels turn.

Working at approximately one twenty-thousandth the width of a hair, scientists hope this research will be only the beginning of productive operations functioning on the molecular scale. Read the rest of the story here.


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