Medescape

Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Photons to Power Nanomachines

Photons are elementary particles and the basic units of light, and they are capable of exerting forces. Recently, this force was shown to be strong enough to power a small, mechanical resonator, in other words a proof of concept that may lead to a new way of powering nanoscale machines. The research was done by Hong Tang et al at Yale University. They designed and tested a device that was able to take advantage of the optical gradient force to create vibrations. The device channelled incoming light through an extremely thin passage, only about 110 nanometres wide, in a photonic circuit. This caused the material to resonate at right angles to the beam. Even though the force generated is extremely small, the researchers claim it is strong enough to power small-scale devices, and since light can easily be beamed at large areas at a time, several devices could be powered with little effort. 

A picture of the photonic circuit with one of the resonators highlighted. 

The full article can be found here.

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November 29, 2008 - Posted by | General Science, Physics

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