Scientists Design Self-Assembling Nanogears



Creating nanomachines can be unprofitable because of the time necessary to create and then assemble the components. But researchers at Columbia University have found a way to make machines assemble themselves:

To make the gears, a thin copper sheet is laid over a heat-expanded polymer. When the polymer cools, it shrinks faster than the metal, which causes the metal to bend. When the metal bends, it creates regularly spaced teeth in the polymer, effectively making a microscopic gear. Stiffer metal that's harder to bend creates a gear with fewer, larger teeth, while a more supple metal creates gears with smaller, more numerous teeth.

The team has already made a number of different types of gears, all at the six-to-25 millimeter range, and are now ready to shrink the process down further, to create gears smaller than a micrometer.


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Besides the size controversy, this article is crap news. These are not precision gears, nor are they able to create the bevels they need. I can't imagine why this was even written, let alone published. And the title is wrong. They are making wheels with serrated edges. They do not assemble themselves into complex structures.
/ Boy, I seem to be grumpy this morning, don't I?
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Well they do say that they're "now ready to shrink the process down further, to create gears smaller than a micrometer." I guess once they have the "Not Nano" gears perfected they're confident that they can go super-ickle without much effort. I'm not convinced, though. Six-to-25 millimeters is a LONG way from six-to-25 nanometers.
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