"We have developed a new out-of-the-box design for a motor molecule that is much faster," Thomas Jansen, associate professor of physics at the University of Groningen, said.
Feringa's nanocar (Credit: University of Groningen)
The original light-driven molecular motor was developed by Jansen's colleague Ben Feringa, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Groningen and laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Thomas Jansen and Master's student Atreya Majumdar have now designed a faster molecular motor. Due to the laws of quantum dynamics, one photon excites both chromophores simultaneously, so there are no major bottlenecks to limit the speed of rotation, which is therefore two to three orders of magnitude greater than that of the classic Feringa motors.
Jansen's nanocar (Credit: University of Groningen)
Jansen says there are a few potential applications: They might be used to power drug delivery or move nanoscale objects on a surface, or they might be used in other nanotech applications.