TechReviewAl writes "Alexey Ponomarev from the University of Augsburg in Germany and colleagues have revealed the blueprints for an electric motor built with just two atoms. The motor would have 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 around the ring and placing this ring in an alternating magnetic field creates the conditions necessary to keep the charged atom moving round the the ring. A team from the University of Glasgow in the UK in fact built one of these quantum motors back in 2007, which they called an optical ferris wheel for ultracold atoms. 'The next step, say Ponomarev and co, is to attach the motor to a nanoscopic resonator, such as a spring board or nanomushroom, and make it vibrate. If you can do that, they say, you'd be powering a classical object using a quantum motor.'"
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