University Chemistry ›› 2020, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (2): 114-134.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX201906016

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Molecular Assembler: Nanofactories

Zhengkai Huang1,2,Zhexuan Lei1,Juan Yang1,*()   

  1. 1 College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, P. R. China
    2 Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
  • Received:2019-06-10 Accepted:2019-07-26 Published:2019-08-29
  • Contact: Juan Yang


Molecular machines have attracted significant attentions as one of the most promising aspects of chemistry for their potential applications ever since receiving the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The molecular assembler, also called the nanofactory, is a novel type of molecular machines that are capable of controlling the chemical reactions precisely at the microscopic level. As an analog to the macroscopic factories, nanofactories are comprised of a "transporting" part, the molecular walkers, and an "assembling" part, the molecular robotic arms. In this review, we provide a brief introduction of the research progress in recent years together with analysis on the principles of designing, constructing and operating molecular assemblers. We also summarize the prospects and challenges in the research area of molecular assemblers.

Key words: Molecular machine, Molecular assembler, Molecular walker, Molecular robotic arm, Self-replicating machine


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