The MRS Bulletin is a widely recognized publication in the field of advanced materials. Every month it publishes a comprehensive overview of a particular topic in the materials field. The 2019 February issue of the MRS Bulletin focused on Bioinspired Far-from-Equilibrium Materials. In this issue, Dr. Katira, along with Dr. Henry Hess and Stanislov Tsitkov from the Columbia University in the city of New York, and Dr. Ingmar Riedel-Kruse from Stanford University published an overview on the applications of molecular motors in the design of next-gen biomimetic active materials. Molecular motors are nano-scale machines that can convert chemical or photon energy into mechanical work. Biological systems utilize a large variety of such motors on a regular basis to accomplish important biological functions such as muscle movement, directed transport of biological cargo, cell division, and cell migration. Recently, materials scientists and engineers have been employing such molecular motors, either extracted from biological systems or engineered in the lab, to design far-from-equilibrium mechanically active materials. The article describes the past accomplishments and provides future directions for the field.
The image below shows the formation of highly strained nano-spools driven by molecular motors. Image Credit - Hess Lab, Columbia University.