The smallest turbine in the world is built, whose propellers are made from DNA filaments of just 7 nanometers and can spin up to 10 times per second.
It is a fundamental step in the field of molecular machines, carried out by the University of Delft, in the Netherlands, and described in the journal Nature Physics.
Making machines, more or less complex, but of the size of a few molecules, is one of the great objectives of chemistry in recent years whose first important steps were recognized with a Nobel Prize in 2016. A new important step forward in capacity to replicate on a very small scale gears and mechanisms similar to those of the macro world now comes from the researchers of the University of Delft, who have created the smallest propeller motor in the world: it is a sort of pinwheel or turbine and is composed of filaments of Dna, which manages to accumulate the energy produced by the movement of the blades.
In this case it is not the wind that makes the blades move, but the movements due to different levels of salinity or electrical charges in the environment in which it is located.
A thrust that can spin the blades up to 10 times per second.
"What we have demonstrated here - said Xin Shi, one of the leaders of the study - is a nanoscale engine that is truly capable of converting energy and producing work".
A progress that the researchers themselves define as fundamental and that can somehow recall the invention of the first steam engines.
"We could find ourselves - he observed - in a similar phase now with these molecular nanomotors. The potential is unlimited, but there is still a lot of work to do".