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Issue 4, 2015
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Topological energy storage of work generated by nanomotors

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Abstract

Most macroscopic machines rely on wheels and gears. Yet, rigid gears are entirely impractical on the nano-scale. Here we propose a more useful method to couple any rotary engine to any other mechanical elements on the nano- and micro-scale. We argue that a rotary molecular motor attached to an entangled polymer energy storage unit, which together form what we call the “tanglotron” device, is a viable concept that can be experimentally implemented. We derive the torque–entanglement relationship for a tanglotron (its “equation of state”) and show that it can be understood by simple statistical mechanics arguments. We find that a typical entanglement at low packing density costs around 6kT. In the high entanglement regime, the free energy diverges logarithmically close to a maximal geometric packing density. We outline several promising applications of the tanglotron idea and conclude that the transmission, storage and back-conversion of topological entanglement energy are not only physically feasible but also practical for a number of reasons.

Graphical abstract: Topological energy storage of work generated by nanomotors

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 Oct 2014, accepted on 26 Nov 2014 and first published on 08 Dec 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02294G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2015,11, 732-740
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Topological energy storage of work generated by nanomotors

    F. Weysser, O. Benzerara, A. Johner and I. M. Kulić, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 732
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02294G

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