Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 19, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Inchworm bipedal nanowalker

Author affiliations


Nanowalkers take either inchworm (IW) or hand-over-hand (HOH) gait. The IW nanowalkers are advantageous over HOH ones in force generation, processivity and high-density integration, though both gaits occur in intracellular nanowalkers from biology. Artificial IW nanowalkers have been realized or proposed, but all rely on different ‘head’ and ‘tail’ to gain an adventitious direction. Here we report an inherently unidirectional IW nanowalker that is a biped with two identical legs (i.e., indistinguishable ‘head’ and ‘tail’). This walker is made of DNA, and driven by a light-powered G-quadruplex engine. The directional inchworm motion is confirmed by operating the walker on a DNA duplex track that is designed to show a distinctive fluorescence pattern for IW walkers as compared to HOH ones. Interestingly, this walker exhibits stride-controlled IW-to-HOH gait switch and direction reversal when the track's periodic binding sites have wider and wider separation. The results altogether present an integrated mechanism for implementing nanowalkers of different gaits and directions on molecular tracks, optical potentials or even solid-state surfaces.

Graphical abstract: Inchworm bipedal nanowalker

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 31 Dec 2017, accepted on 14 Apr 2018 and first published on 16 Apr 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09724G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018,10, 9199-9211
  •   Request permissions

    Inchworm bipedal nanowalker

    Y. H. Chiang, S. L. Tsai, S. R. Tee, O. L. Nair, I. Y. Loh, M. H. Liu and Z. S. Wang, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 9199
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09724G

Search articles by author