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New grants to fund molecular machine research in The Netherlands

A news release from the University of Amsterdam announced project grants for research on molecular machines:

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Sander Woutersen and Wybren Jan Buma — both staff members of the Molecular Photonics group — individual ECHO grants for research on molecular machines. ECHO grants are €260,000 project grants designated for Excellent CHemical Research projects.

The project headed by Sander Woutersen is entitled Slippery when wet: How water lubricates molecular machines and explores the effects of water on molecular machines. Surprisingly enough, the presence of small quantities of water has proven to greatly accelerate the movement of molecular machines. This research project will strive to establish why this process occurs. Woutersen also aims to establish the extent to which this phenomenon explains why biomolecular machines only function optimally in water.

Wybren Jan Buma was awarded an ECHO grant for his Molecular machines at work in the gas phase project. Taking their cue from nature, scientists are currently working to build molecules that can mimic macroscopic machines. In order to help us understand how machines on this scale work, the project will examine the structural changes that occur when a molecular machine is not disrupted by its environment or is disrupted under controlled conditions.

ECHO grants are designed to facilitate high-quality research projects rooted in intellectual curiosity. This will allow for the development of audacious ideas, and help lay the groundwork for the research themes of the future and/or scientific innovation.

It will be interesting to see if the results are “audacious” enough to “lay the groundwork” for molecular manufacturing.

2 Responses to “New grants to fund molecular machine research in The Netherlands”

  1. NanoMan Says:

    Supposedly, Michio Kaku the physicist has been saying we will not have molecular assemblers until a century or so from now. I find this claim to be baseless because of the cutting edge developments we see pouring out of research labs. We have DNA nanomachines, we have advancing scanning probe microscopes, and computer circuit sizes already down to the nanometer level. Add to this the synthetic biology and genetic engineering, protein fold design stuff, and it appears assemblers are alot closer, more like around the 20teens to 2020s and 2030s range for more generic assembler/nanomachine structures; even “primitive” ones able to bond carbon atoms to form diamond like structures and buckytubes.

  2. johnson Says:

    the statement is exactly true

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