It’s developed a robot so small it operates on the molecular level. This is the world’s first molecular robot, and it has an arm which can manipulate individual molecules or move them in clusters. Our robot is literally a molecular robot constructed of atoms just like you can build a very simple robot out of Lego bricks.
Just like the robot in the factory, our molecular version can be programmed to position and rivet components in different ways to build different products, just on a much smaller scale, at a molecular level.
Prof. Leigh said, “This is the science of how atoms and molecules react with each other and how larger molecules are constructed from smaller ones.” He added, “It is the same sort of process scientists use to make medicines and plastics from simple chemical building blocks. Then, once the nano-robots have been constructed, they are operated by scientists by adding chemical inputs which tell the robots what to do and when, just like a computer program.”
Such a robot could also help improve the process of discovering new drugs as well.
“This is just the start but we anticipate that within 10 to 20 years molecular robots will begin to be used to build molecules and materials on assembly lines in molecular factories.”