We are thinking of creating nanobots in the brain that control emotions and to power these nanobots we are trying to decompose neurotransmitters to release the energy in the bond. What would be the best way to do this?

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    $\begingroup$ None. Use glucose. Why would you use much less energetic source when you have dedicated fuel available? $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jan 5 '17 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ To explain a bit better: please give us a reason not to go with glucose and we may try to help you with inventing excuse for neurotransmitters (from other ill fitting choices). But without such reason already in place we are helpless. Glucose is just to good and to many readers will know that. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jan 5 '17 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ We were thinking of using glucose, but one of our process required uptake of neurotransmitters and we weren't sure how to get rid of them, so we thought just turn these transmitters to energy. And to have glucose battery and neurotransmitter storage would require too much space that we can't provide in nanobit. $\endgroup$ – XIAOLONG GAO Jan 5 '17 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ You'll need a chemist to verify this, but given that the chemical structure of glucose (C6H12O6) is fairly similar to a neurotransmitter like epinephrine (C8H11NO3), it seems like you should be able to use a similar process to the Krebs Cycle to decompose it (just less efficiently, and you'll need a way to bleed off excess C, H, and N, and/or uptake more O). $\endgroup$ – Azuaron Jan 10 '17 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ The amount of available neurotransmitters is tiny, because they are made for a highly special purpose. The molecule used as "fuel" is glucose. Use glucose like any other component of the animal body. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 11 '17 at 23:36

Here are a list of neurotrasmitters maybe one of them could be broken down in the body:


What if someone took cocaine and the nanobots interfered with the usual reaction us humans with the cocaine and some how take the energy derived from it? I am not a chemist but if our body reacts to other neurotransmitters then perhaps if energy is released then it could be captured by the nanobots?

I have some alternative suggestions below though:

Just like the navigation systems, nanotechnologists are considering both external and internal power sources. Some designs rely on the nanorobot using the patient's own body as a way of generating power. Other designs include a small power source on board the robot itself. Finally, some designs use forces outside the patient's body to power the robot.

Nanorobots could get power directly from the bloodstream. A nanorobot with mounted electrodes could form a battery using the electrolytes found in blood. Another option is to create chemical reactions with blood to burn it for energy. The nanorobot would hold a small supply of chemicals that would become a fuel source when combined with blood.

A nanorobot could use the patient's body heat to create power, but there would need to be a gradient of temperatures to manage it. Power generation would be a result of the Seebeck effect. The Seebeck effect occurs when two conductors made of different metals are joined at two points that are kept at two different temperatures. The metal conductors become a thermocouple, meaning that they generate voltage when the junctures are at different temperatures. Since it's difficult to rely on temperature gradients within the body, it's unlikely we'll see many nanorobots use body heat for power.

While it might be possible to create batteries small enough to fit inside a nanorobot, they aren't generally seen as a viable power source. The problem is that batteries supply a relatively small amount of power related to their size and weight, so a very small battery would only provide a fraction of the power a nanorobot would need. A more likely candidate is a capacitor, which has a slightly better power-to-weight ratio.

Another possibility for nanorobot power is to use a nuclear power source. The thought of a tiny robot powered by nuclear energy gives some people the willies, but keep in mind the amount of material is small and, according to some experts, easy to shield [source: Rubinstein]. Still, public opinions regarding nuclear power make this possibility unlikely at best. External power sources include systems where the nanorobot is either tethered to the outside world or is controlled without a physical tether. Tethered systems would need a wire between the nanorobot and the power source. The wire would need to be strong, but it would also need to move effortlessly through the human body without causing damage. A physical tether could supply power either by electricity or optically. Optical systems use light through fiber optics, which would then need to be converted into electricity on board the robot.

The Piezoelectric Effect

Some crystals gain an electrical charge if you apply force to them. Conversely, if you apply an electric charge to one of these crystals, it will vibrate as a result, giving off ultrasonic signals. Quartz is probably the most familiar crystal with piezoelectric effects. External systems that don't use tethers could rely on microwaves, ultrasonic signals or magnetic fields. Microwaves are the least likely, since beaming them into a patient would result in damaged tissue, since the patient's body would absorb most of the microwaves and heat up as a result. A nanorobot with a piezoelectric membrane could pick up ultrasonic signals and convert them into electricity. Systems using magnetic fields, like the one doctors are experimenting with in Montreal, can either manipulate the nanorobot directly or induce an electrical current in a closed conducting loop in the robot.


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