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International team develops novel DNA nano engine

Date: 25.10.2023 

An international team of scientists has recently developed a novel type of nano engine made of DNA. It is driven by a clever mechanism and can perform pulsing movements. The researchers are now planning to fit it with a coupling and install it as a drive in complex nano machines.

Kredit: Arizona State University.

Petr Šulc, an assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, has collaborated with professor Famulok (project lead) from the University of Bonn, Germany and professor Walter from the University of Michigan on this project.

Šulc has used his group's computer modeling tools to gain insights into design and operation of this leaf-spring nano engine. The structure is comprised of almost 14,000 nucleotides, which form the basic structural units of DNA.

"Being able to simulate motion in such a large nanostructure would be impossible without oxDNA, the computer model that our group uses for design and design of DNA nanostructures," explains Šulc. "It is the first time that a chemically powered DNA nanotechnology motor has been successfully engineered. We are very excited that our research methods could help with studying it, and are looking forward to building even more complex nanodevices in the future."

This novel type of engine is similar to a hand grip strength trainer that strengthens your grip when used regularly. However, the motor is around one million times smaller. Two handles are connected by a spring in a V-shaped structure.

Image source: Arizona State University.




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