Scientists have developed the world’s smallest, fastest and longest-running tiny synthetic motor to date that can fit inside a cell and spin as fast as a jet engine.
The nanomotor is an important step towards developing miniature machines that could one day move through the body to administer insulin for diabetics when needed, or target and treat cancer cells without harming good cells.
Engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin focused on building a reliable, ultra-high-speed nanomotor that can convert electrical energy into mechanical motion on a scale 500 times smaller than a grain of salt.
The team’s three-part nanomotor can rapidly mix and pump biochemicals and move through liquids, which is important for future applications.
Researchers believe their nanomotors could provide a new approach to controlled biochemical drug delivery to live cells. To test its ability to release drugs, the researchers coated the nanomotor’s surface with biochemicals and initiated spinning. They found that the faster the nanomotor rotated, the faster it released the drugs.