Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


A Tiny Motor with a Light Touch

By Fenella SaundersMay 1, 2001 5:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Pál Ormos and Péter Galajda, biophysicists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, have devised an elegant way to construct microscopic machines that are both created and operated by light.

The researchers illuminate a sample of resin with a laser that hardens the material wherever it hits, forming it into a set of gears each less than 1/5,000 inch wide. When illuminated with another, lower-energy laser, the rotors spin up to 600 rpm as photons scatter off their flanges. Related devices could punch holes in cells for gene therapy or pump materials across miniature chemical arrays. Such arrays are aiding the study of DNA and the design of new drugs.


Courtesy of the Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research Centre

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In