Volume 9 (2013) Pages 91-98
Molecular motor is a nano-sized chemical engine that converts chemical free energy to mechanical motions. Hence, the energetics is as important as kinetics in order to understand its operation principle. We review experiments to evaluate the thermodynamic properties of a rotational F1-ATPase motor (F1-motor) at a single-molecule level. We show that the F1-motor achieves 100% thermodynamic efficiency at the stalled state. Furthermore, the motor reduces the internal irreversible heat inside the motor to almost zero and achieves a highly-efficient free energy transduction close to 100% during rotations far from quasistatic process. We discuss the mechanism of how the F1-motor achieves such a high efficiency, which highlights the remarkable property of the nano-sized engine F1-motor.