Fascinating nano news, with potential future implications for drug delivery and diagnostics, is reported by UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC):
A major advance in nanotechnology with far-reaching potential benefits in medicine and other fields is to be announced at this year’s BA Festival of Science in Dublin.
Scientists have built molecules that can, for the first time ever, move larger-than-atom-sized objects. Constructing molecular machines capable of performing relatively large-scale mechanical tasks has never been achieved before.
Now, in an unprecedented breakthrough, chemists at Edinburgh University have used light to stimulate man-made molecules to propel small droplets of liquid across flat surfaces and even up 12° slopes against the force of gravity. This is equivalent to tiny movements in a conventional machine raising objects to over twice the height of the world’s tallest building.
This significant step could eventually lead to the development of artificial muscles that use molecular ‘nano’-machines of this kind to help perform physical tasks. Nano-machines could also be used in ‘smart’ materials that change their properties (e.g. volume, viscosity, conductivity) in response to a stimulus. They could even control the movement of drugs around the body to the exact point where they are needed.
Who knows if one day we’ll have drugs encapsulated in micro vehicles attached to nano sized flagellum-like structures, and designed for delivery to a very specific set of cells. The first step, it looks like, has been made!
The press release…