Feeds

Boffins use laser to move maglev disk

Not as fast as a Japanese train

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Readers may wish to skip to the video, below, if they’re too holidayed to want to read too many words. For the rest: a group of Aoyama Gakuin University researchers has demonstrated a magnetic-levitation disk that can be moved using lasers.

The trick is in the materials: when the laser heats one part of the disk, the magnetic properties change in a small area. The resulting differential in the force applied to the disk makes it move – as you can see here:

The graphite disk starts by being levitated over a magnet, with its height determined by the strength of the magnetic field and the diamagnetic properties of the disk.

The disk’s diamagnetism is a function of temperature (among other things). If it’s heated, the excitation of electrons weakens the diamagnetic properties. Heat the disk evenly, and it will fall closer to the magnet; but if you heat it locally, it will move in the direction of the beam.

The trick even works with sunlight, the researchers claim, with the disk able to reach a speed of 200 rpm. If the researchers could overcome the challenges of scaling this system up to a decent size, they say their system could even offer a new approach to converting light to electricity. In a more blue-sky scenario, they even imagine it being used for a transport system propelled by magnetism and light.

More immediately, the researchers plan trying their system out with a magnetic turbine blade, to see how much energy can be harvested from the phenomenon. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.