Agriculture
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Amphibians
Tree Frogs
Newts
Salamanders
Animals
Putting a Mouse on Pause
Mouse Songs
Elephant Mimics
Behavior
Taking a Spill for Science
Diving, Rolling, and Floating, Alligator Style
How Much Babies Know
Birds
Parrots
Eagles
Hummingbirds
Chemistry and Materials
Supergoo to the rescue
Hair Detectives
Silk’s superpowers
Computers
Galaxies far, far, far away
The Shape of the Internet
Fingerprint Evidence
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino-bite!
Dinosaur Eggs-citement
Dinosaurs Grow Up
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Quick Quake Alerts
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Earth's Poles in Peril
Environment
Power of the Wind
Fishing for Fun Takes Toll
Island Extinctions
Finding the Past
Meet your mysterious relative
An Ancient Childhood
Early Maya Writing
Fish
Mahi-Mahi
Freshwater Fish
Pygmy Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Building a Food Pyramid
How Super Are Superfruits?
The Essence of Celery
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Exam Preparation
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Prime Time for Cicadas
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Teen Brains, Under Construction
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Kids now getting 'adult' disease
Invertebrates
Horseshoe Crabs
Crabs
Grasshoppers
Mammals
Giant Panda
Opposum
Otters
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Plants
Farms sprout in cities
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
A Giant Flower's New Family
Reptiles
Copperhead Snakes
Asp
Crocodiles
Space and Astronomy
Supernovas Shed Light on Dark Energy
Return to Space
Holes in Martian moon mystery
Technology and Engineering
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
A Satellite of Your Own
Weaving with Light
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Robots on the Road, Again
Weather
Earth's Poles in Peril
Catching Some Rays
A Dire Shortage of Water
Add your Article

Atomic Drive

Made of 169 atoms, each car is a single molecule that measures just 3 nanometers wide and 4 nanometers long. One nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter. It would take about 20,000 nanocars in single file to span the width of a human hair. Scientists at Rice University in Houston, Texas, announced their invention of nanocars last October. More recently, the scientists added miniature motors to their machines. The same research group, led by chemist James Tour, previously produced NanoKids—molecules that look vaguely like human figures (see "The Incredible Shrunken Kids"). NanoKids (if they were old enough) could probably drive nanocars, but that's not the purpose of these wee automobiles. Someday, nanocars might help boost the efficiency of atomic-scale construction projects, such as the building of computer chips. Some of these tiny vehicles might work as medical submarines, probing our bodies for disease. Starting small Tour's inspiration came from thinking about how nature builds things—from the bottom up. In other words, nature starts small and gets bigger. Trees, for example, begin life as seeds, and they add cells as they grow. On the other hand, when people build things, they usually work in the opposite direction. "People generally construct from the top down," Tour says. "If you want to build a table, you cut down a big tree [for the wood] to make it." Even when scientists construct molecules, they generally use large machines to nudge each atom into place. Nanocars, Tour thought, might be a better way to pick up atoms and move them around. To understand his reasoning, think about termites. Each termite is tiny, but a large group of these insects can work together to build huge mounds of dirt. Nanocars, likewise, might be able to team up and construct intricate objects. Rolling molecules It took 5 years of hard work to make a nanocar that could roll, Tour says. The scientists used carbon and other common elements to make a platformlike frame and axles for holding the wheels. Each wheel was a molecule called buckminsterfullerene, which consists of 60 carbon atoms arranged in a pattern that looks like the surface of a soccer ball. Trucks, tractors, and bulldozers are impressive machines. They can rip into the earth or carry tons of gear. Large vans line the streets of many neighborhoods in the United States. Meanwhile, everyday automobiles seem to be getting bigger and bigger. A new wave of vehicles, however, is pushing a different kind of size limit. Called nanocars, these dream machines are practically invisible. After they'd manufactured the nanocars, the researchers used a special microscope to show that each nanocar actually works likes a car—that it rolls forward and backward on four wheels in a direction at right angles to its axles, rather than sliding about like a car on ice. Tour's group then turned to the next challenge: adding a motor. Starting with a molecular framework developed by scientists in the Netherlands, Tour's team created a rotating motor for the car. When the experimenters shone a specific wavelength of ultraviolet light on the motor, it spun like a paddlewheel and pushed the car forward along a gold surface. Next, Tour wants to make nanocars that can pick up and transport objects. Heroic chemistry Tour is optimistic about the technology's potential. "It's important for children to appreciate this because, in 40 or 50 years, this technology is going to begin to take off," he says. At this point, applications seem less important than the achievement itself, says materials scientist Ray Baughman. He directs the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas. "Even the idea of making a molecule that can roll like a car on a surface is exciting," Baughman says. "But to actually do it is remarkable. This is heroic chemistry."

Atomic Drive
Atomic Drive








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™