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Micrometer-Scale Translation and Monitoring of Individual Nanocars on Glass

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Department of Chemistry and the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005
* Address correspondence to [email protected]; [email protected]
Cite this: ACS Nano 2009, 3, 2, 351–356
Publication Date (Web):January 9, 2009
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

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    Nanomachines designed to exhibit controlled mechanical motions on the molecular scale present new possibilities of building novel functional materials. Single molecule fluorescence imaging of dye-labeled nanocars on a glass surface at room temperature showed a coupled translational and rotational motion of these nanoscale machines with an activation energy of 42 ± 5 kJ/mol. The 3 nm-long dye-labeled carborane-wheeled nanocars moved by as much as 2.5 μm with an average speed of 4.1 nm/s. Translation of the nanocars due a wheel-like rolling mechanism is proposed and this is consistent with the absence of movement for a three-wheeled nanocar analogue and the stationary behavior of unbound dye molecules. These findings are an important first step toward the rational design and ultimate control of surface-operational molecular machines.

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    Synthesis and characterization of dye-labeled nanocars including 1H NMR spectra and single molecule analysis of the nanocar directionality (Figure S1), polarization distribution of the “moving” nanocars (Figure S2), and polarization distribution of trimer nanocars (Figure S3). This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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