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(29,876 posts)
Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:40 PM Dec 2012

Light-Powered Magnetic Levitation Could Create ‘New Class’ Of Solar Energy

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, December 28, 2012

In a breakthrough that could one day revolutionize transportation and electricity generation, scientists at the University in Kanagawa in Japan demonstrated this month a disc that spins at over 200 rotations per minute when placed over a magnet in direct sunlight, saying the discovery could help create a wholly “new class” of solar energy.

Professor Jiro Abe and Dr. Masayuki Kobayashi presented their discovery in the December issue of Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Speaking a reporter with Phys.org, Abe said their research represents “the first time in the world” that humans have been able to achieve “real-time motion control” of intimate objects without individual parts of the machine coming into direct contact.

The study goes on to explain that it works because the light slightly changes the temperature of the graphite, which causes subtle fluctuations in the material’s “magnetic susceptibility.”

Video of the discovery published to YouTube earlier this month showed scientists moving a tiny disc over an array of small magnets by firing a laser at it. Additional footage also featured that same disc levitating over a single magnet, rapidly spinning in place when placed under direct sunlight.

“Because this technique is very simple and fundamental, it is expected to apply to various daily living techniques, such as transportation systems and amusement, as well as photo-actuators and light energy conversion systems,” Abe reportedly said.

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1xJYW)
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Light-Powered Magnetic Levitation Could Create ‘New Class’ Of Solar Energy (Original Post) Purveyor Dec 2012 OP
It remains to be seen if this is anything other than a novelty. drm604 Dec 2012 #1
I hoping that somebody who actually knows this stuff will check in. eom Purveyor Dec 2012 #3
"intimate objects," heh heh. snot Dec 2012 #2
I chuckled, too. They probably meant "inanimate". But "intimate" is more fun. SharonAnn Dec 2012 #5
Perhaps in this case "Intimate" could work as well? Uncle Joe Dec 2012 #6
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe Dec 2012 #4
Way cool. surrealAmerican Dec 2012 #7
Crookes radiometer extended by magnetic levitation? Thor_MN Dec 2012 #8


(16,230 posts)
1. It remains to be seen if this is anything other than a novelty.
Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:48 PM
Dec 2012

Is there a way to extract useful energy from this without bringing it to a halt?

Even if there is, is this more efficient or cheaper than photovoltaic or solar-thermal?



(11,843 posts)
8. Crookes radiometer extended by magnetic levitation?
Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:25 AM
Dec 2012

Not sure how this is going to be any more useful than a Crookes radiometer, but it is cool. Then again, if they get that intimate objects thing worked out...

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