Nano-cars Race

Nanocars Race

The teams

American-Austrian NanoPrix Team

  • Name of the nanocarDipolar Racer
  • Laboratories Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology of Houston / Graz Institute für Chemie
  • Affiliates Rice University (Houston, USA) / Graz Universität (Graz, Austria)

The group

Leonhard Grill Professor at the University of Graz
James M. Tour Professor at Rice University
Team-leader and designer
Grant Simpson Associate professor at the University of Graz
Victor Garcia-Lopez Associate professor at Rice University
Designer and manufacturer

Team´s sponsor

The Dipolar Racer technical specifications

The American-Austrian NanoPrix Team has not yet selected the final racing molecule. They are still optimizing. Anyway, the strategy adopted is to propel the Dipolar Racer across a metal surface by virtue of the interaction between its dipole and the electric field present in the tunnel junction of a scanning tunneling microscope.

Synthesis of the Dipolar Racer

The Dipolar Racer is built using low adhesion molecular wheels, alkynyl axles, aryl chassis, and dipolar functionalities front and rear. Sonogashira cross coupling reactions are used to accomplish the assembly.

STM image of the Dipolar Racer

Team leader’s interview

What is the strong point of your NanoCar ?

It contains all parts of a car: Wheels, axles, chassis and - in particular - a dipolar unit to facilitate directional motion.

How did your team manage to achieve the synthesis ?

This has grown out of almost two decades in NanoCar research, so we have finally reached the point of competition.

How do you feel about the race:

This is an exciting time for nanotechnology and it represents the first of its kind to have nanotechnologies directly competing head-to-head. It is an exciting day for science and nanotechnology in particular that motivates us to improve the performance of our NanoCar.

After the race, what are your research perspectives:

Test and characterize further NanoCars, potentially light-driven structures.