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World's first 'molecular robot' may help build new drugs

21st September 2017

LONDON: Scientists have created the world's first 'molecular robot' - millionth of a millimetre in size - that can be used to build molecules and may help discover novel drugs.
The tiny robots developed by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo using a tiny robotic arm.

Each individual robot is capable of manipulating a single molecule and is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms.

To put that size into context, a billion of these robots piled on top of each other would still only be the same size as a single grain of salt.

The robots operate by carrying out chemical reactions in special solutions which can then be controlled and programmed by scientists to perform the basic tasks.

In the future such robots could be used for medical purposes, advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines.

 

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