Scientists from the USA and Great Britain have created a substance whose crystals are able to change their size depending on humidity. The development, as writes Nature Materials, may be the basis of molecular nanomotors.
Water condensation and evaporation are processes whose energy is not yet used for practical purposes. The situation was corrected by the staff of the Center for Advanced Studies of the University of New York, which together with scientists from the University of Scotland Strathclyde created a crystal material that compresses or expands depending on changing humidity. The material is based on simple tripeptide biomolecules.
The mechanical energy produced by the morphogenic crystals can be used to activate various molecular devices. For example, it is possible to create nanoscale motors based on crystals.
“We managed to create a new type of drive that works by evaporating water. By observing the changes in the crystals, we have studied the basic mechanisms that are responsible for converting the evaporation energy of water into mechanical energy. The data obtained from the project will help us create a new type of molecular motor,” says Roxana Piotrovska, lead author of the study.