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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

A chiral nano-propeller for precision controlled rotations

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers developed and characterized a multi-component molecular propeller that enables unidirectional rotations on a material surface when energized.

Scientific Achievement

A molecular propeller was created that, upon excitation, can rotate clockwise or anticlockwise with atomic level precision on a surface depending on its chirality.

Significance and Impact

Controlling the rotational direction of molecular machines provides atomic level understanding of the mechanism involved, and impacts their development for potential applications ranging from catalysis to quantum computation.

Research Details

  • Artificially synthesized molecular propellers were deposited on a Au(111) crystal surface.
  • Controlled rotation was performed by supplying electrical energy or by using inelastic tunneling electrons from a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip at Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM).

Work was performed in part at CNM.


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About Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

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