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Home > News > Tiny Machines Convert Sunlight Directly into Work

April 2nd, 2009

Tiny Machines Convert Sunlight Directly into Work

Abstract:
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have now made tiny devices that directly convert sunlight into work. In a paper published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they describe making small mechanical machines out of light-responsive nanomaterials. These tiny "boats" and rotors, about a centimeter long, are propelled across liquid surfaces when illuminated. This research is still in very early stages, and using light for propulsion is not a new idea. It's being harnessed by NASA in solar sails for a prototype satellite. The Berkeley researchers note that while the NASA system relies on the transfer of photons' momentum, the Berkeley machines harness photons' energy, which is more powerful.

Source:
technologyreview.com

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