Sign in: Staff/Students
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a molecular structure that could help create current-generating machines at the nanoscale.
In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, scientists have investigated the rotation of molecules on a fixed surface to understand how they may help in the development of future rotor-based machinery at nanoscale level. The research focused on rotating magnetic fields, which play an important part in machines, such as electric motors and generators. The difficulty for technology at the atomic scale is to replicate this property with rotors the size of small molecules. A number of rotating molecules have already been identified, but so far molecules have not been used to create rotating magnetic fields. The researchers used a gold metal surface to anchor phthalocyanine molecules, which have a metallic centre, in a large array. The anchor point – a single gold atom on top of the gold surface, and attached to a nitrogen atom of the molecule – allowed the molecules to rotate just off-centre.
Professor Werner Hofer, from the University’s School of Chemistry, explains: “The difficulty in creating molecular rotors is that molecules need a fixed anchor point and will often react with the surface you want to fix them to. A gold surface interacts very weakly with molecules; it moreover provides regular anchor points to attach single molecules, which then line up in large and well ordered arrays.” “The centre atoms, which are metallic, spin around the gold atoms creating an off-axis rotation. The beauty of phthalocyanine is that the centre can be functionalised with any metal atom; the research could then lead to the development of rotating magnetic fields at a very small scale.”
Scientists believe that this could be the first step towards the fabrication of machines for the generation of currents at small scale.
The research is published in Physical Review letters.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
All recent news
New Researchers at Risk Scheme – Open for Ukrainian Applicants
Students in the community: Being a good neighbour
National Student Survey results published
University of Liverpool appoints new Vice-Chancellor
We are delighted to announce that Professor Tim Jones will be our next Vice-Chancellor from January 2023.
Daily testing saved Liverpool's emergency services from Covid catastrophe - new findings published by @eClinicalMed revealed world’s first testing pilot saved almost 8,000 work days from being lost to self-isolation. Full story➡️http://bit.ly/3OZ2F9W #teamscience #teamliverpool
Today @CERN's #LargeHadronCollider will start delivering proton collisions to experiments at an unprecedented energy of 13.6 TeV.
Our @livuniphysics are part of the international collaboration that will collect & analyse the data ➡️http://bit.ly/3NSiVcc #LHCRun3