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Home Industry News New microscopic robotic technology developed to build molecules

New microscopic robotic technology developed to build molecules

27th September 2017

British researchers have developed a new form of microscopic robotic technology that is capable of building molecules.

A University of Manchester team has created the tiny robots, which measure a millionth of a millimetre in size and can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo using a miniature robotic arm.

Each robot is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms and is capable of manipulating a single molecule to carry out chemical reactions in special solutions, which can then be controlled and programmed by scientists.

It is hoped that the technology will offer multiple applications in medical science and advanced manufacturing processes, with the small scale of the robots reducing demand for materials, minimising power requirements and increasing the miniaturisation of other products, while also greatly accelerating the drug discovery process.

David Leigh, professor of chemistry at the University of Manchester, said: "This is just the start, but we anticipate that within ten to 20 years molecular robots will begin to be used to build molecules and materials on assembly lines in molecular factories."

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