The Opensource Handbook of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
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Our bodies are full of molecular machines and their synthetic counterparts may soon be all around us too
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Intermolecular forces explained. Download the pdf at the end of the article to see a high resolution version of this image.
Fig 1 - The key parts of Stoddart's molecular shuttle are the two stations (blue), the shuttle (orange) and the bulky stoppers (green)
Fig 2 - The actin and myosin filaments in muscles use protein-based machines to pull past each other
Fig 3 - Leigh's molecular walker can take steps along a pathway of alternating functional groups
Fig 4 - Feringa's molecular rotor is powered by electrons, which excite the double bond and induce an E/Z-isomerisation
Fig 5 - If the four rotors work in unison, the nanocar begins to drive along the surface
|Professor Neil Alford, deputy principal for research in Imperial's Faculty of Engineering, who is playing a key role in one of the new projects, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for UK science and industry. The new funding will enable us to bring graphene a step closer to useful applications, by helping us explore the physical and mechanical properties of this remarkable material, as well as its behaviour at high frequency."|
In one project worth £1.35 million, led by Professor Tony Kinloch from the Department of Mechanical Engineering with colleagues from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, researchers will explore how combining graphene with current materials can improve the properties of aeroplane parts, such as making them resistant to lightning-strikes.They hope the same technology can also be used to develop coatings for wind-turbine blades, to make them scratch resistant and physically tougher in extreme weather conditions.