Scientists put Tiny Sound-powered Motors inside Living Cells

A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently developed the world’s smallest, fastest nanomotor . For the first time ever, the engineers have managed to insert nanomotors into human cells.  The function of these microscopic machines is to carry specific drugs to individual living cells inside the human body.

World's smallest nanomotor
This new and advanced microscopic machine may help light up cancer cells and provide a new patient-friendly, viable option to fight cancer. To power those robots, we need a nanoscale-sized motor that’s capable, sufficiently long-lived, and flexible enough for a wide range of applications. These motors deliver drugs only to individual cancer cells and do not harm other healthy cells.

World's smallest nanomotor
A team of scientists headed by Prof. Donglei Fan has created a nanomotor that might just work as expected. The device is less than 1 micrometer in size on all sides and is made up of three parts: a nanomagnets, a nanowire, and a microelectrode, which are brought together one by one using a patent-pending technique relying on AC and DC electric fields.

World's smallest nanomotor
To know more about the arrangement and working of the machine read the journal Nature Communications published on Tuesday.

It was shown to run for 15 hours straight at 18,000 RPMs. That’s roughly the speed of a jet engine. The speed of the spin is also important. The scientists found that the faster the nanomotor spun, the faster the drugs are delivered.

“We were able to establish and control the molecule release rate by mechanical rotation, which means our nanomotor is the first of its kind for controlling the release of drugs from the surface of nanoparticles,” says professor Donglei “Emma” Fan, who led the team. “We believe it will help advance the study of drug delivery and cell-to-cell communications.”

Source: University of Texas