Design and Fabrication of Nanomotors of Ultrahigh and Uniform Rotational Speed

Nanotechnologies : Life Science Apps

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  • Donglei Fan , Mechanical Engineering
  • Kwanoh Kim , University of Texas at Austin
  • Jianhe Guo , Mechanical Engineering

Background/unmet need

High-speed nanomotors have been strongly desired for biomedical applications such as localized and controlled drug delivery and disease fighting; yet they have been very challenging to fabricate. Even though there has been recent report of an electromagnetically driven nanomotor, high performance nanomotors capable of large torque and high rotational speed are still under development. Such development requires innovations in the fabrication and design of nanorotor, one of the key components of the nanomotor. Current fabrication is typically based on a conventional patterning process that includes lithography and etching, a process that is costly and difficult to scale up. On the other hand, innovative nanomotor design is still in dire needs of uniform rotation, high rotational speed, and long durability.

Invention Description

A research group led by Dr. Emma Fan in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UT Austin has demonstrated an innovative design of the microelectrode set (nanorotor) and a facile fabrication process for an ultrahigh speed rotational nanomotor that can rotate to at least 18,000 rpm for significantly longer operating lifetime (15+ hrs) than current state-of-the-art devices. The group further designed the magnetic components within the nanomotors to achieve uniform speed rotation (i.e., no periodic oscillations) that can be operated as a step-nanomotor.


  • Low-cost fabrication of nanomotors with designed microelectrode sets for ultrahigh and uniform rotation
  • Innovative design of the nanomotor to achieve stepmotor-like rotational control
  • Technique can be easily used to fabricate large-area, cost-effective nanodisks in large quantities


  • Two sets of electrodes specifically designed and utilized for: (1) remote nanomanipulation over a large area; (2) locally concentrated high-torque generation
  • Fabrication of patterned nanorotors using a lift-off process based on colloidal lithography
  • Magnetic elements embedded in the nanorotors and bearings help achieve uniform stepmotor-like rotational control.

Market potential/applications

Biomedical devices; RF MEMS/NEMS; integrated circuits

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed

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