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Nano Mill Powers Motor With Beams of Light

Here's another way to create energy from light: a research team at UC Berkeley have developed an ultra-tiny mill. So tiny that it powers a motor when literally pushed by polarized light beams.

According to Popular Science, light-driven motors aren't exactly new. But the power/size ratio of the team's development is unprecedented. The nano mill measures only 100 nanometers (or ten-millionths of a meter). It can however produce enough torque to spin a disk 4,000 times bigger (around 0.4 centimeters).

The speed and direction of these so-called "plasmonic" motors is a simple matter of modifying the driving light's wavelength and frequency. These factors, also measured in nanometers interact with the mill's "vanes" differently, creating a predictable and manageable control scheme.

As for possible applications, the research team believes its nano mill will make microscopic electromechanical systems easier to implement, allow for better power generation from solar energy, and make finer genetic manipulation possible. The last part is a simple matter of positioning the motor on the right place of a DNA strand, and shine some light on it to unravel the building blocks of our existence.

  • gaevs
    Ok, sorry for this, but who else thinls that this is a nazi engine?? :P
    Reply
  • gaevs
    it comes with ring tones too??
    Reply
  • wonspur
    gaevsOk, sorry for this, but who else thinls that this is a nazi engine??yea....not exactly the most pleasant shape for an engine...
    Reply
  • kevijon
    Damn that was my idea.
    Reply
  • AMDnoob
    is anybody else slightly disturbed by the prospect of literally toying with the instructions for life? I don't mean on the ethical side (it doesn't appear to violate anything to me). It's just so, so strange. Like just sit at your desk and think for a minute, we're physically manipulating the instructions for a living organism. We are playing with micro biology that nobody thought could have been remotely possible. We're altering the very makeup of life... it's just so hard to comprehend honestly.
    Reply
  • Onus
    This is cool stuff. By itself, it probably can't do squat, but as a building block, it may be a vital piece of the "next big thing." I see all kinds of possibilities, like waste management / digestion, metabolic assistance, molecule (e.g. petroleum) cracking, medical treatment, etc; lots of different things. Nice.
    Reply
  • mlopinto2k1
    Those damn Nazi's have resorted to microscopic control!
    Reply
  • Of all the designs one could choose, it just had to be a swastica. It would be pretty funny if this was old Nazi tech that was going to nuke the U.S. or something.
    Reply
  • gaevs
    Microscopic nazis!!, we need a microscopic Allies!!
    Reply
  • Asinger93
    gaevsMicroscopic nazis!!, we need a microscopic Allies!!

    quick! call really, really tiny MacArthur and Eisenhower! We must storm the beaches of micro-normandy!
    Reply