Aug 18, 2017 | Updated: 10:39 AM EDT

NanoCar Race Starts Next Fall

Dec 16, 2015 02:58 AM EST

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Where is the race?
(Photo : Reuters) The NanoCars are so small, you need a microscope to watch them race.

France will host the first ever NanoCar Race. This is a race between molecule cars as all of the participants will dispatch "cars" so small they are invisible to the naked eye.

The race is set to happen come October 2016  in Toulouse, France. Both the training session and the final race are to be held at LT-UHV-4 STM Instrument located in the Pico-Lab building of the CEMES-CNRS G. Dupouy campus in Toulouse (La Boule). The races are being organized by the Center for Materials Elaboration and Structural Studies (CEMES) of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). The already accepted teams are as follows:

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NanoMobile club CEMES-CNRS (France)
Nanocar Team Rice (USA) & Graz (Austria) Universities
Nano-windmill Compagny Dresden Technical University (Germany)
MANA-NIMS Nano-Vehicle (Japan)
Ohio Bobcat Nanowagon Team Ohio University (USA)

A nanocar is a single-molecule vehicle of around 100 atoms that incoporate its parts like the chassis, axles and freely rotating wheels. Each of these entries are propelled across a custom-built gold surface by an electric current supplied by the tip of a scanning electron microscope. The track is put inside a vacuum and has a low temperature of 5 Kelvin (-450 F or -268.15 C).

"It's challenging because, first of all, we have to design a car that can be manipulated on that specific surface," James Tour, lab chemist at Rice University, said. "Then we have to figure out the driving techniques that are appropriate for that car. But we'll be ready," he added.

The race itself is not visible to the naked eye, and it needs a microscope for anyone to actually see what is happening. According to the CNRS' official website of the event, "The NanoCar race is mostly a fantastic human and scientific adventure that will be broadcast worldwide."

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