Nano-cars Race

Nanocars Race

Get ready for the Autumn 2016 NanoCar Race, the first-ever race of molecule-cars

The NanoCar Race is a race where molecular machines compete on a nano-sized track. A NanoCar is a single molecule-car that has wheels and a chassis... and is propelled by a small electric shock.

The race will be invisible to the naked eye: a unique microscope based in Toulouse, France, will make it possible to watch the competition.

The NanoCar race is mostly a fantastic human and scientific adventure that will be broadcast worldwide.


The teams

NanoMobile club

  • Country France
  • Laboratory CEMES-CNRS
  • Sponsor Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, France)
  • Team Leader Gwenaël Rapenne

Nanocar Team

  • Country USA / Austria
  • Laboratory Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (Rice University) / Institute für Chemie (Graz Universität)
  • Sponsors Rice University (Houston, USA) / Graz Universität (Graz, Autriche)
  • Team Leaders James Tour (Rice) / Leonhard Grill (Graz)

Nano-windmill Company

  • Country Germany
  • Laboratory Institute for Materials Science and Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials - TU Dresden
  • Sponsor Technische Universität Dresden (Dresden, Germany)
  • Team Leader Francesca Moresco

Nano-Vehicle MANA-NIMS

  • Country Japan
  • Laboratory International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics
  • Sponsor National Institute for Materials Science (Tsukuba, Japan)
  • Team Leader Waka Nakanishi

Ohio Bobcat Nano-wagon Team

  • Country USA
  • Laboratory Laboratory for single atom and molecule manipulation (Athens, USA)
  • Sponsor Ohio University
  • Team Leaders Saw-Wai Hla / Éric Masson

The track

The NanoCar Race track is made of single gold atoms dropped on a gold surface. This track is placed inside a unique scanning tunneling microscope (STM), based at the CNRS Centre d'Elaboration de Matériaux et d'Etudes Structurales (CEMES) in Toulouse.

How does the STM work? A nano-needle screens the surface and applies a small electric shock, revealing the whole track and propelling the NanoCar!

The CEMES STM is the world's only 4-needle microscope that makes it possible to drive 4 NanoCars at the same time.