Washington, May 2 : Arizona researchers have made a breakthrough development by making a new generation of sub-microscopic nanomotors that are up to 10 times more powerful than existing motors.
The development, say researchers led by Joseph Wang, is a big step forward to a practical energy source for powering tomorrow's nanomachines.
Currently nanomotors, including so-called "catalytic nanomotors," are made with gold and platinum nanowires and use hydrogen peroxide fuel for self-propulsion.
However, these motors are quite slow and inefficient for practical use and can only reach the top speeds of about 10 micrometers per second. One micrometer is about 1/25,000 of an inch or almost 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
In the process of this development, the researchers supercharged their nanomotors by inserting carbon nanotubes into the platinum, and in this way increased the average speed to 60 micrometers per second.
Later, when they treated the hydrogen peroxide fuel with hydrazine (a type of rocket fuel) the speed kicked up further to 94- 200 micrometers per second.
Thus the scientists concluded by saying that this innovation "offers great promise for self-powered nanoscale transport and delivery systems."
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of ACS Nano, a monthly journal.
Story first published: Friday, May 2, 2008, 13:08 [IST]