Who Needs Electricity When You Can Power Things With Light Alone?

Illustration for article titled Who Needs Electricity When You Can Power Things With Light Alone?

Your iPod nano may today rely on electrical power (until its battery dies), but future nanodevices might be powered strictly by a combination of attractive and repulsive lights.


Yale University's Hong Tang, whose team previously showed an ability to manipulate circuits on a silicon board with attractive light, has developed a method to do the same with repulsive light. The light causes miniature components on silicone chips to move perpendicularly from the direction the light is traveling, rather than being a triggered by a beam of light shining upon it directly.

In order to create the force, scientists split a beam of infrared light and forced it down two different nanowires. The more the two beams moved out of phase with one another, the greater the force they were able to exert upon the components around the nanowires on the chips. The ability to create repulsive light will allow scientists to manipulate nanocomponents on silicon boards without the use of electricity, eliminating the need to vast wiring systems and reducing interference. Tang's discovery is just one more step towards creating functional nanodevices and exponentially expanding the scale of electronic miniaturization.

Scientists Discover Light Force with 'Push' Power [PhysOrg]

[Image via Hong Tang]


So, this is a highly complex nano-scale effect with exciting applications for circuit board design.

And yet, when I hear "attractive light" and "repulsive light," all I can think is, "ENGAGE THE TRACTOR BEAM!"

(And I just *know* some newspaper or another will make the same connection while reporting on this... :P)