Scientists from Canada have created a prototype of an engine that runs on a new type of fuel – information. The engine produces energy from the chaotic oscillation of microscopic particles, Phys.org writes.
Employees of Simon Fraser University, who created the amazing prototype, notes that the idea is not new – the engines of this type were theoretically described 150 years ago, but in reality the technology to create them has appeared only now. Studies have shown that the limits set by the second law of thermodynamics can be circumvented if the engine produces energy from information from the world around it.
“How fast will the information engine be able to run? How much energy will it produce? We wanted to answer these and other questions, so we built an experimental prototype. The work to optimize it resulted in a 10-fold increase in performance!” say the Canadian scientists.
What is an information engine? It is a microscopic particle that is immersed in water and connected to a spring attached to a moving platform. Thermal fluctuations cause the particle to move up and down, which affects the entire system. By experimenting with the prototype, scientists were able to obtain power comparable to that of the molecular apparatus of living cells. The speed of the apparatus, meanwhile, was comparable to that of fast bacteria.