'Kind and Gentle' Molecular Machine Could Operate at Near-Equilibrium
By Lisa Zyga
Molecular machines – tiny machines made of molecules that do mechanical
work – are usually thought to operate in a state of non-equilibrium.
This makes sense, considering that macro-sized machines operate at
non-equilibrium, requiring an additional force to move. On the other
hand, equilibrium implies that forces cancel each other out, resulting
in an unchanging system, often at rest.
“The main significance is conceptual – it changes the way we think about molecular motors,” Astumian told PhysOrg.com.
“Much emphasis has been put on the ‘non-equilibrium’ aspects of the
system, but in fact this is not really important. The motion of the
rings here arises due to a combination of topology that break spatial
symmetry, and the slow external modulation that breaks time symmetry.
It is also important to recognize that, in the molecular world, we can
truly have motors that operate with nearly 100% efficiency.”
Full article: http://www.physorg.com/news117366760.html