How to Power a Nanomotor

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Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1520
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5496.1520

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A successful nanotechnology will require nanomotors that can perform functions from switches to pumps and actuators. In their Perspective, Besenbacher and Nørskov discuss the study by Schmid et al. , who show that tin islands on a copper surfaces propel themselves forward on the surface, drawing energy from alloy formation with the surface below. The system has about the same power-to-weight ratio as a car and may provide a paradigm for future nanomotors.