Created a prototype engine operating on information


Canadian scientists have developed an amazingly fast engine operating on a new form of fuel — information. It converts chaotic oscillation of microscopic particles into energy. Such technology could lead to significant progress in the speed and cost of computers and bionanotechnology. And the understanding of the principles of information conversion in «work» can push the creation of real information engines.

This type of engines were first offered for another 150 years ago, but only recently learned them to create in practice. The experiments of recent years have shown that the border conducted by the second law of thermodynamics can be processed if the engine can receive information from the environment and turn it into operation. These «information engines» can be implemented thanks to the fundamental communication of information and thermodynamics.

«We wanted to understand how quickly the information engine can work and how much energy to receive, so we created one such,» the researchers said. Systematically studying it and selecting the right characteristics, they were able to increase its productivity ten times,

The information engine, developed at the University of Simon Mill, consists of a microscopic particle immersed in water and connected to the spring, which is fixed on the movable platform. Thermal movement causes a particle to move up and down. When scientists observe a jump up, they move the platform up. With the reverse movement — waiting. Thus, the entire system uses only information about the position of the particle.

In the process of theoretical analysis of the system, scientists have discovered a curious ratio between the particle mass and the average jumping time. While heavier particles can accumulate more gravitational energy, they usually rise longer upwards. By using this discovery, they were able to optimize the properties of the engine and reach the power comparable to the molecular apparatus of living cells, and speeds comparable to fast floating bacteria.

Last year, Swiss scientists

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