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An incomprehensibly small engine


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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

Picture an ant. It’s fuzzy, black and small, maybe a fifth of an inch long — and capable of carrying up to 50 times its own body weight. Now envision a powerful motor a million times smaller. (You can’t, not really, but don’t worry — the human brain wasn’t designed that way.)

It’s at this microscopic scale that scientists at the University of Cambridge say they’ve constructed a working engine. The prototype motor, which the physicists described Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, relies on lasers, gold particles and the exploitation of a nifty physics principle called van der Waals forces.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/05/03/cambridge-scientists-lay-claim-to-worlds-smallest-engine/?postshare=2591462275981371&tid=ss_tw

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