Monday, October 24, 2005


World’s Smallest Car Built From a Single Molecule

`The smallest car ever constructed – a single molecule “nanocar” just one 80 thousandth the size of a human hair – has been built by scientists at Rice University.

The nanocar has a chassis, axles and four wheels that roll. The unique car is described in a research paper that is available online and due to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal “Nano Letters.”

Other research groups have created nanoscale objects that are shaped like automobiles, but study co-author Kevin Kelly, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, said Rice’s vehicle is the first that actually functions like a car, rolling on four wheels in a direction perpendicular to its axles. [..]

The nanocar consists of a chassis and axles made of well-defined organic groups with pivoting suspension and freely rotating axles.

The wheels are buckyballs, spheres of pure carbon containing 60 atoms apiece. The entire car measures just three to four nanometers across, making it slightly wider than a strand of DNA. A human hair, by comparison, is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter.’

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