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Perspective: Nanomotors without moving parts that propel themselves in solution
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46.We shall often use the term nanomotor to emphasize the fact that we are considering small motors but the motors of interest may also have dimensions in the micron-scale range.
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Self-propelled nanomotors use chemical energy to produce directed motion. Like many molecular motors they suffer strong perturbations from the environment in which they move as a result of thermal fluctuations and do not rely on inertia for their propulsion. Such tiny motors are the subject of considerable research because of their potential applications, and a variety of synthetic motors have been made and are being studied for this purpose. Chemically powered self-propelled nanomotors without moving parts that rely on asymmetric chemical reactions to effect directed motion are the focus of this article. The mechanisms they use for propulsion, how size and fuel sources influence their motion, how they cope with strong molecular fluctuations, and how they behave collectively are described. The practical applications of such nanomotors are largely unrealized and the subject of speculation. Since molecular motors are ubiquitous in biology and perform a myriad of complex tasks, the hope is that synthetic motors might be able to perform analogous tasks. They may have the potential to change our perspective on how chemical dynamics takes place in complex systems.
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