The Nanocar Race is the world’s smallest car race covering the longest distance possible on a gold track for 24 hours, where the vehicles are molecules driven by the interaction with the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope.

Nanocar drivers use the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to help jolt their molecules along, typically by just a few nanometers each time, so that the nanocar race takes place on a very small scale. Touching however is forbidden. The vehicles must be drivable using the tunnelling current, without mechanical push from the tip.

The rules of the race

  • Molecule-vehicle size: from about 100 atoms to the order of 1000 atoms.
  • Only molecule-vehicles with distinguishable front and rear are accepted.
  • Remote control from Toulouse for all teams.
  • No mechanical push during Nanocar Race II.
  • Nanoracing surfaces: determined by the organization committee, for speedy drivers (slalom) or molecule-trucks.
  • Weather conditions: ambient and/or ultra-high vacuum.