Issue Date: January 22, 2007
'Walking' molecules carry CO2
Molecules that "walk" across a surface can also pick up and drop off cargo molecules as they scamper along (Scienc, DOI: 10.1126/science.1135302). Ludwig Bartels of the University of California, Riverside, and his colleagues report that anthraquinone (shown) not only moves in a straight line across a copper surface, but it also can pick up a CO2 molecule for each of its keto oxygen atoms. The molecule drops off its CO2 cargo spontaneously at higher temperatures or with help from a scanning tunneling microscope tip. A loaded molecule moves slower than an unencumbered one, the group notes. The use of single molecules as nanotransporters holds promise for constructing devices or delivering materials. The group is now working on teaching the molecules a few tricks: "We would like to be able to make one go around corners, rotate its cargo, or send out photons to tell us where it is," Bartels says. To see a video of the molecules in action, click here.
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