It's a tiny machine made of genetic material that collects and converts electrical energy into kinetic energy. The nanometers can be turned on and off, and the speed and direction of rotation can be changed.
The authors explain that engines exist not only in machines but also in the natural environment: they perform vital tasks in our body. For example, a motor protein known as ATF Synthase produces a molecule of adenosinthosphate that our body uses for short-term storage and transmission of energy. But it was difficult to recreate natural molecular engines on such a scale.
The authors of the new work created a nanoscale molecular rotor engine using the DNA-origami method, and researchers used the method to collect the engine from DNA molecules.
Several long single DNA threads are the basis, and additional ones are added to it, and the sequence of DNA is selected so that the right structure can be obtained.
The new nanonomortem consists of three components: the base, platform and lever of the rotor; the base is about 40 nm high and attached to the glass plate by means of chemical connections; the rotor beam is up to 500 nm long and is installed on the basis that it can rotate.
Another component is crucial to engine operation: the platform is between the base and the rotor lever and contains obstacles that affect lever movement. To overcome obstacles and rotate, the rotor lever must be slightly tilted up.
According to the authors, the engine reaches a torque of 10 piconuton per nanometer; it can generate more energy per second than it can produce when two ATF molecules are split.
Researchers suggest using the engine to control certain chemical reactions.