Since their widely reported invention, the development of fullerene-wheeled nanocars hasn’t stood still.

In 2005, James Tour and colleagues at Rice University, Texas, US, made headlines when they reported nanocars with fullerenes for wheels and a chassis of fused aromatic rings.1 The vehicles, three nanometres in size, rolled across gold surfaces observed by scanning tunnelling microscopy.

Tour made a quintillion (a billion times a billion) vehicles in a single experiment, or as he put it, ‘more nanocars than the number of automobiles made in the history of the world.’ The cars were powered by externally-applied electric fields.

Now Tour and colleagues have reviewed their recent progress in making a range of nanovehicles

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