Summary #1168

The world’s smallest motor
  • It has just 16 atoms - a molecule of acetylene, and 12 atoms of palladium + gallium - and it can only be observed by scanning tunneling microscopy.
  • Cooled down to 17 degrees above absolute zero, and with an electrical current applied, it engages in a controlled spinning motion.
  • For a motor to be useful, the rotor has to spin in only one direction - which is guaranteed here by the low temperature, and the palladium gallium crystal structure.
  • Now, scientists are working on ways to harvest kinetic energy from the microscopic motor, and understanding how it works, in order to be able to put it to work someday.


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