Smallest Electric Motor Built From Two Atoms

By on September 24th, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009 19:02

Quantum-motorIt doesn’t get any smaller than this – get two atoms at very low temperatures and than place them in a alternating magnetic field and you got yourself the smallest electric motor yet. This great achievement was made by Alexey Ponomarev, a professor at the University of Augsburg, Germany and his colleagues.

The motor is composed of one neutral atom and another charged atom that are strained in ring-shaped lace. As they move around the lace, the atoms jump from spot in the lace, to another. Under the influence of the alternating magnetic field, the charged atoms continues its path in the ring, thus creating the effect of an basic motor.

The hardest part in the whole process is starting it. In order to make it run, the motor needs to reach a state of asymmetry, which in turn is achieved by combining two symmetries – first, break the field that is flowing through the ring and place the neutral atom. Than the charged atom will repel, resulting in a minuscule quantum electric motor.

The researchers try to prove in their papers that it actually works and that, with more dedicated research, this could be a big breakthrough. Their next goal is to fix the  motor to a nanoscopic resonator make it oscillate. If they will be successful, the next step is, they say,  going big, using the – two atom – electric motor in our household devices.

Source: TechnologyReview


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