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Aug 5, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, nanotechnology

A research team led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has succeeded for the first time in producing a molecular electric motor using the DNA origami method. The tiny machine made of genetic material self-assembles and converts electrical energy into kinetic energy. The new nanomotors can be switched on and off, and the researchers can control the rotation speed and rotational direction.

Be it in our cars, drills or automatic coffee grinders—motors help us perform work in our everyday lives to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. On a much smaller scale, natural molecular motors perform vital tasks in our bodies. For instance, a protein known as ATP synthase produces the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which our body uses for short-term storage and transfer of energy.

While natural molecular motors are essential, it has been quite difficult to recreate motors on this scale with roughly similar to those of natural molecular motors like ATP synthase. A research team has now constructed a working nanoscale molecular rotary motor using the DNA origami method and published their results in Nature. The team was led by Hendrik Dietz, Professor of Biomolecular Nanotechnology at TUM, Friedrich Simmel, Professor of Physics of Synthetic Biological Systems at TUM, and Ramin Golestanian, director at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization.

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