Advanced Materials

Dream Nanomachines

Authors

  • G. A. Ozin,

    1. Materials and Polymer Chemistry Research Group, Center of Inorganic and Polymeric Nanomaterials, Chemistry Department, 80 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6, Canada
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  • I. Manners,

    1. Materials and Polymer Chemistry Research Group, Center of Inorganic and Polymeric Nanomaterials, Chemistry Department, 80 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6, Canada
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  • S. Fournier-Bidoz,

    1. Materials and Polymer Chemistry Research Group, Center of Inorganic and Polymeric Nanomaterials, Chemistry Department, 80 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6, Canada
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  • A. Arsenault

    1. Materials and Polymer Chemistry Research Group, Center of Inorganic and Polymeric Nanomaterials, Chemistry Department, 80 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6, Canada
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  • G. A. O. and I. M. are Government of Canada Research Chairs in Materials and Polymer Chemistry. They deeply appreciate the sustained support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for support of their research. A. A. is grateful to NSERC for a graduate scholarship. We are deeply indebted to Ludovico Cademartiri for his creative computer graphic contributions to this paper. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.

Abstract

Locomotion on the nanoscale through a fluid environment is one of the grand challenges confronting nanoscience today. The vision is to synthesize, probe, understand, and utilize a new class of motors made from nanoscale building blocks that derive on-board or off-board power from in-situ chemical reactions. The generated mechanical work allows these motors to move through a fluid phase while simultaneously or sequentially performing a task or series of tasks. Such tiny machines, individually or assembled into designed architectures, might someday transport medicine in the human body, conduct operations in cells, move cargo around microfluidic chips, manage light beams, agitate liquids close to electrode surfaces, and search for and destroy toxic organic molecules in polluted water streams. Are these just “nanomachine dreams”, or “dream nanomachines”? Some very recent exciting developments suggest that a world of amazing chemically powered nanomachines will be the way the story unfolds in the not-too-distant future!

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