Nano-turbine is a generator, data-storage medium and molecular printer

OK, so this nanoscale floorwax isn't just a dessert-topping: it's also a nanomolecular printer, a power source, and a digital storage medium:

Similarly, when electrons move through the nanotube turbine, they tend to bounce off its spiral arrangement of carbon rings in a particular direction. This redirects the electrons into a spiral flow, and causes the tube to rotate in the opposite direction…

The Lancaster researchers say their motor could be used to pump atoms and molecules through the spinning middle tube. Multiple pumps could precisely control a chemical reaction, driving atoms in a pattern to engineer new molecules. "It's like a nanoscale inkjet printer," says Lambert.

Atoms pumped through the motor could also be used to represent digital data, with an array of motors shuttling atoms between the 1 and 0 ends of the middle tube to store or process information. This method could store data in a space about 10 times smaller than today's state-of-the-art commercial systems, says Lambert.


(via Beyond the Beyond)