James Clerk Maxwell, the famous physicist, imagined an atom-sized machined 150 years ago, it was called Maxwell’s Demon. Apparently this imaginary device is now a reality after scientists at the University of Edinburgh developed a new motor mechanism for nanomachines.
Just for the reference, one nanometer is 1 meter divided by 1 billion (80,000 smaller than the thickness of a human hair).
Professor David Leigh, coordinator of the project, commented: “Our machine has a device — or ‘demon’ if you like — inside it that traps molecule-sized particles as they move in a certain direction. Maxwell reasoned that if such a system could ever be made it would need energy to work (…) As he predicted, the machine does need energy and in our experiment it is powered by light. While light has previously been used to energise tiny particles directly, this is the first time that a system has been devised to trap molecules as they move in a certain direction under their natural motion. Once the molecules are trapped they cannot escape.”
What could be done with such a device you might ask? Well, that is the cool part! Apparently this nanomachine could generate a force through lasers. That is, you would be able to point a laser to an object and make it move!
Leigh explains it with his own words: “It is a machine mechanism that is going to take molecular machines a step forward to the realization of the future world of nanotechnology. Things that seem like a Harry Potter film now are going to be a reality.”
Via: Red Orbit