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January 25th, 2010
How small can you make an electric motor? Today, Alexey Ponomarev from the University of Augsburg in Germany and a couple of pals describe how to do it with just two atoms. Yep, an electric motor made of just two ultracold atoms.
Their motor consists of one neutral atom and one charged atom trapped in a ring-shaped optical lattice. The atoms jump from one site in the lattice to the next as they travel round the ring. Placing this ring in an alternating magnetic field creates the conditions necessary to keep the charged atom moving round the the ring.
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