Much has been written recently about a new "molecule-sized" electric motor demonstrated by researchers at Tufts University and written up in Nature Nanotechnology. But the most hype-free, realistic story can be found at PC Magazine in an article written by Peter Pachal. FierceDrugDelivery is including this story in the mix because, someday in the far, far future, a tiny electric motor like this could be used to power nanotech drug-delivery vehicles.
The researchers took a copper surface and laid down a single molecule of butyl methyl sulfide, which contains two "arms" of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Then, using a scanning tunneling microscope, they zapped it with electricity and it started to swing its arms around. What's new here is the electric power.
Trouble is, as Pachal points out, they had to cool it down to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to measure the spin. Hotter than that, and "just that too much is happening," lead scientist Charles Sykes told TuftsNow. "At that speed, it's just a blur."