Lots of things work better as they get smaller: power density increases, operating speed increases, and number of features per volume increases dramatically.
One of the few things that doesn't get better is stiffness - in fact, stiffness gets worse. A material that's stiff enough to build human-sized things out of may be too floppy for the nanoscale.
There's been lots of exciting developments over the last decade in organic nanostructures... but one question that's been on my mind is how to make them stiff enough to build conventional mechanical devices out of. (Floppy natural protein machines are cool, but inherently limited in some ways, and stiff devices can benefit from centuries of accumulated invention.)
Now comes an announcement of a new record in stiffness (a Young's modulus of 275 GPa) for aromatic dipeptide nanospheres. Basically, that means they're built out of protein. In fact, they're built out of just two amino acids. And the simple structure means they can be built in shapes other than spheres as well.
This may be a significant enabler toward building engineered nanomachines using protein-handling nanomachinery.
Hat tip to Next Big Future.