Published: Thursday 15 March 2001

Researchers at the Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungary, have built devices, which extract energy from beams of light just like a windmill extracts energy from the wind. They have built an optical vane with cogwheels of about five microns diameter. This technique could find use in designing miniature pumps as well as in studying the properties of bio-molecules that could have such devices attached to them. Tiny micro-electromechanical devices such as tiny motors that would be able to clear up clogged arteries and sensors in car air bags, machines which measure a few microns could be powered by this micro- power generator of sorts (Applied Physics Letters , January 8, 2001).

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