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Edinburgh scientists craft microscopic nanomachines

Darren Murph

There's apparently a good bit of conflict at the University of Edinburgh, as we've got one esteemed fellow claiming that nanotech products are potentially dangerous, and now we've got a professor of chemistry insinuating that his nanomachines can change the world. Regardless of their personal differences, David Leigh has borrowed an idea from 1867 in crafting "a minuscule motor that could lead to the creation of microscopic nanomachines," and while he credits the "Maxwell's Demon" as its inspiration, he hopes these plans will actually lead to something substantial. The bantam motor is entirely solar-powered, and has been "devised to trap molecules as they move in a certain direction under their natural motion." Preliminary tests have shown a nanomachine moving a drop of water uphill by using molecular force, which gives researchers hope that this discovery will allow these diminutive machines to "do things that are much closer to what biological machines do." Of course, even Mr. Leigh admits that predicting just how this can or will effect society is difficult, but considering that he's aiming to to bring things that "could happen in a Harry Potter film" to fruition, we won't count him out just yet.

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