Scientists have created a nanoscale piston that is capable of self-assembly (Image: Ivan Huc, CNRS)
Just like a regular-sized device requires a regular-sized motor to operate, a nanodevice likewise requires a molecular-scale motor. In some cases, that motor takes the form of a piston, and building a piston that’s just a few nanometers long ... well, it’s pretty hard. It can and has been done, but it’s an extremely fiddly process. Now, scientists from France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Université de Bordeaux, along with colleagues in China, have developed a molecular piston that is capable of assembling itself.