Fantastic voyage of the nanobots

Nanomachines small enough to move around our bloodstream have long been a dream of scientists and public alike. But working out how to make them move has meant they’ve remained in the realm of science fiction. Professor Jeremy Baumberg and colleagues recently developed the world’s tiniest engine – just a few billionths of a metre in size. It’s biocompatible, cost-effective to manufacture, fast to respond and energy efficient.

Could nanomachines keep us healthy by patrolling, monitoring and repairing the body? “There’s a revolution happening in personalised healthcare, and for that we need sensors not just on the outside but on the inside,” explains Baumberg. “Nanoscience is driving this. We are now building technology that allows us to even imagine these futures.”

Professor Baumberg leads the Nanophotonics Centre at the University of Cambridge, as well an interdisciplinary Strategic Research Network and Doctoral Training Centre focused on nanoscience and nanotechnology. He and colleagues are developing nanomachines with researchers at the University of Bath.

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