Specialists in theoretical physics of Dublin Trinity College with the assistance of scientists from other countries managed to create the smallest engine ever presented: it is about 10 billion times smaller than the power unit of the car. Even more unusual was the purpose of the development: with its help, researchers proposed to remove heat from electronic components.
The work presented by Professor John Gould, who heads the QuSys Research team, is dedicated to the engine of a single calcium ion trapped in electric fields. The principle of its operation is based on the use of angular momentum of its own spin, which is used to convert heat absorbed from laser beams into vibrations. These vibrations work like the flywheel, accumulating energy in discrete particles, or quanta.
The construction of microscopic cars with such engines is out of the question, but the study of its "flywheel" allowed scientists to measure the power of the "power plant" and accurately assess the mechanism of energy release. In the future, the development can be used to create new technologies for the removal of excess heat and increase the energy efficiency of various devices. According to scientists, heat management at the nanoscale is one of the most urgent problems for the organization of fast and efficient computing solutions.