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Theoretical modeling and computer simulations of molecular motors provide insight that engineers can exploit to design and control artificial nanomotors.For obvious reasons, the study of molecular motors has been a traditional area of research in molecular cell biology and biochemistry, but in recent years, it has attracted physicists' as well as engineers. Exploring the design and mechanisms of these motors from an engineering perspective requires investigating their structure and dynamics using the fundamental principles of physics at the subcellular level. The insights gained from such fundamental research could also find practical applications in designing and manufacturing artificial nanomotors - motors whose typical size is usually in the rage of a few nanometers to a few tens of nanometers. In contrast to man-made macroscopically large motors, natural nanomotors have evolved over billions of years. While discussing the design, mechanism, and control of molecular motors, this article also compares their macroscopic counterparts to emphasize common features as well as differences.
Date of Publication: March-April 2008