Thermal smallest engine today is among the most popular in the world. They rotate the turbine generators for thermal power stations, used in automobiles (the same internal combustion engine), missiles, planes. Typically, these are large, heavy structure. Although the miniaturization of their work constantly, scientists from Germany decided to bring the process to the point of absurdity. And they came to create smallest engine size of an atom.
How it works the smallest engine from a single atom?
German physicists invent the smallest engine in the world that consists of just one particle – calcium ions (calcium atom with one electron removed). Any heat engine is designed to convert thermal energy into kinetic energy (heating in motion). This is achieved by moving the heat from the hotter parts to colder or thermal expansion of the working fluid, for example, that pushes the piston in an internal combustion engine.
In this design, the calcium ion is also the working fluid and contingent piston. The smallest engine source serves electromagnetic noise signal, and by means of a laser beam creates a region of low temperature (the temperature difference needed for movement). Himself calcium ion stir electric trap funnel shape. The work of scientists was to equalize the oscillation frequency with the resonance frequency of the ion trap. When heated, the smallest engine is a movement to a wider end, and when cooled – is returned. Then the cycle repeats. It turns out that very transformation of heat into motion.
Of course, its size will not be allowed to develop enough power to drive the car, not to mention the rocket. It came up with a different purpose – the development called “quiet revolution” for research in statistical physics, in particular, to explore the movement of heat flows in microscopic systems. The creators say that their development is of great importance, as it gives the opportunity to explore the work of thermal engines at the quantum level.
Ubiquitous miniaturization continues. Modern processors, operating a computer the size of a grain of rice, a miniature drone – experts are working tirelessly. And now we have a new champion, created the smallest engine from a single atom.