The tiny robots, millionth of a millimeter in size, programmed to move and build molecular cargo, using a tiny robotic arm. Scientists from the University of Manchester have created the world’s first ‘molecular robot’ that is capable of performing basic tasks including building other molecules.
The robots operate by carrying out chemical reactions in special solutions. Controlled and programmed by scientists to perform the basic tasks.
Each individual robot capable of manipulating single molecule and made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms. To put that size into context, a billion of these robots piled on top of each other. Still the same size as a single grain of salt.
In the future such robots used for medical purposes. Advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines.
Professor David Leigh, who led the research at University’s School of Chemistry, explains All matter is made up of atoms and these are the basic building blocks that form molecules. Our robot is literally a molecular robot constructed of atoms just like you can build a very simple robot out of Lego bricks. The robot then responds to a series of simple commands that are programmed with chemical inputs by a scientist.
Similar to the way robots used on a car assembly line. Those robots pick up a panel and position it. Riveted in the correct way to build the bodywork of a car. So, the robot in the factory, our molecular version programmed to position and rivet components in different ways to build different products, on much smaller scale at a molecular level.
Miniaturization of machinery
The benefit of having machinery that is so small is it massively reduces demand for materials. It can accelerate and improve drug discovery. Reduce power requirements and rapidly increase the miniaturization of other products. Therefore, the potential applications for molecular robots are extremely varied and exciting.
However, molecular robotics represents the ultimate in the miniaturization of machinery. Our aim is to design and make the smallest machines possible. This is just the start that within 10 to 20 years molecular robots begin to use. To build molecules and materials on assembly lines in molecular factories. Building and operating such tiny machine is extremely complex. The techniques used by the team based on simple chemical processes.
The robots assembled and operated using chemistry. This is the science of how atoms and molecules react with each other. Also larger molecules constructed from smaller ones.
Moreover, it is the same sort of process scientists use to make medicines and plastics from simple chemical building blocks. Then, once the Nano-robots constructed and operated by scientists by adding chemical inputs tell the robots just like a computer program.