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Nanocars: Transit for Nanoscale Construction

Ian Webster
Ian Webster
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
Physical Seminar

Controlled placement of molecules is a necessary step for the future of nanoscale synthetic methods. Although layer deposition methods provide a bottom-up process for the construction of microscopic structures, the lack of precision limits the minimum size of these designs. Nanocars, molecular machines designed for movement across solid-phase surfaces, offer a means of transporting molecules across a deposited substrate.1,2 The controlled movement of only the desired molecules can prevent competition for substrate binding sites and limit the scale of the molecular assembly.3 Advances in the design of nanocars have resulted in a variety of different assemblies that have different activation methods. Models that are propelled by light, heat, or electrical pulse offer different control to protect the assemblies they are being used to assist.4 Although the use of nanocars is a relatively recent advancement, the field of nanoscale machines has seen rapid improvement in their design and implementation while reducing limitations over the last few years.5,6


1. Shirai, Y.; Morin, J.; Sasaki, T.; Guerrero, J. M.; Tour, J. M.; “Recent Progress on Nanovehicles.” Chem. Soc. Rev. 2006, 35, 1043-1055.

2. Vives, G.; Tour, J. M.; “Synthesis of Single-Molecule Nanocars.” Acc. Chem. Res. 2009, 42 (3), 473-487.

3. Kabir, A. Md. R.; Inoue, D.; Kakugo, A. “Molecular Swarm Robots: Recent Progress and Future Changes.” Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 2020, 21 (1), 323-332.

4. Chiang, P.; Mielke, J.; Godoy, J.; Guerrero, J. M.; Alemany, L. B.; Villagómez, C. J.; Saywell, A.; Grill, L.; Tour, J. M.; “Toward a Light-Driven Motorized Nanocar: Synthesis and Initial Imaging of Single Molecules.” ACS Nano 2012, 6 (1), 592-597.

5. Nemati, A.; Pishkenari, H. N.; Meghdari, A.; Ge, S. S.; “Controlling the Diffusive Motion of Fullerene-Wheeled Nanocars Utilizing a Hybrid Substrate.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2019, 123, 206014-26030.

6. Nemati, A.; Pishkenari, H. N.; Meghdari, A.; Ge, S. S.; “Influence of Vacancies and Grain Boundaries on the Diffuse Motion of Surface Rolling Molecules.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2020, 124, 16629-16643.

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