We've already seen molecular elevators
, keypad locks
, and even spiders
, but a team of scientists at the University of Tokyo have now further expanded our pint-sized toolkit, crafting a pair of molecular scissors for those hard to reach places. Apparently, the scientists used rings of carbon and hydrogen for the blades, with a "chiral ferrocene" molecule supplying the pivot point, and couple of "phenylene groups" acting as handles -- all of which adds up to to a mere three nanometers in length. To manipulate the scissors, the scientists simply alternate between shining visible light and UV rays to open and close 'em. According to LiveScience, the team's now working on a slightly larger pair of clippers that can be operated remotely, potentially for use inside the human body -- which is only a somewhat less scary prospect than a swarm
being let loose for a little autonomous repair work.