Physicists Have Built The World’s Smallest Engine | Science Nature Page
Scientists have created an engine that consists of just one calcium ion. In the future, such devices can be used to convert waste heat and increase energy efficiency..
A team of theoretical physicists from Trinity College Dublin, together with colleagues from international organizations, conducted a study explaining the effect of random fluctuations on the operation of atomic machines..
Since the motor (calcium ion) is electrically charged, it can be controlled using an electric field. The working element of such a motor is its own rotation or angular momentum, which is used to convert the heat coming from the laser beams into vibrations of another ion associated with it..
These vibrations act as a flywheel, capturing the useful energy of the engine, which is transmitted in the form of discrete units called quanta, as the theory predicted..
The vibrations allowed scientists to measure the actual power output of an atomic-scale engine and capture individual energy quanta..
According to physicists, the experiment opens a new era in the study of energy technologies, and understanding the features of thermodynamics at the nanoscale is important for their development..
Recall that recently scientists have also developed heat shield for electronics only 10 atoms thick.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Trinity College Dublin, asrc.gc.cuny