UK scientists develop world’s first molecular robot

Scientists at The University of Manchester have created the world’s first ‘molecular robot’ that is capable of performing basic tasks including building other molecules. The tiny robots, which are a millionth of a millimetre in size, can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo, using a tiny robotic arm. Each individual robot is capable of manipulating a single molecule and is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms. To put that size into context, a pile of a billion billion of these robots would still only be the same size (volume/weight) as a few grains of salt.

In the future such robots could be used for medical purposes, advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines. The research, which was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) was published in Nature on 21st September.

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image courtesy of The Manufacturer



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