A University of California, Berkeley (www.berkeley.edu) team, headed by physics professor Alex Zetti, has built a 500 nm electric motor—the world's smallest—from carbon nanotubes and silicon. The motor is the first device that allows external wires and a rotor. In this case, the rotor is between 100 to 300 nm long, while the carbon nanotube shaft to which it is attached is only a few atoms across, perhaps 5 to 10 nm, the team says. Applications might include optical switching, or the spinning rotor could be used to mix liquids in microfluidic devices, the team adds.
A new method of modeling how they are created with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) could reduce the cost of carbon nanostructures used for for research and commercial applications, including advanced sensors and batteries.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
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