Available Technology

Synthetic Rotational Nanomotor

Alex Zettl and colleagues have designed and operated the world’s first rotational nanomotor. The motor is approximately 300 nm wide – three orders of magnitude smaller than existing MEMS motors, and the smallest synthetic motor ever created. The nanomotor consists of a nanoscale electromechanical actuator that incorporates a rotatable metal plate, with a multi-walled carbon nanotube serving as the motor shaft. The nanotube is composed of single graphite sheets, made up of perfectly arranged carbon atoms, which are rolled up into a tube. Because of the atomic perfection of the carbon bonds, the tube has exceptionally low friction – dissipating very little heat and showing no sign of wear or fatigue. Low-level, externally applied voltages precisely control the operating speed and position of the rotor plate. With small voltages (
Benefits: 
Smallest synthetic motor ~ 300 nm wide - Operates with virtually no friction - Rotates at up to one billion cycles per second (1 Ghz) - Extremely durable and long lasting - Tolerates extreme environmental conditions - Has low energy requirements (
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
IB-1939
Patent Status: 
Published Patent Application. Available for licensing or collaborative research
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