A University of California, Berkeley (www.berkeley.edu) team, headed by physics professor Alex Zetti, has built a 500 nm electric motor—the world's smallest—from carbon nanotubes and silicon. The motor is the first device that allows external wires and a rotor. In this case, the rotor is between 100 to 300 nm long, while the carbon nanotube shaft to which it is attached is only a few atoms across, perhaps 5 to 10 nm, the team says. Applications might include optical switching, or the spinning rotor could be used to mix liquids in microfluidic devices, the team adds.
Everyone has had the experience of trying to scrape the last of the peanut butter or mayonnaise from the bottom of a glass jar without getting your hand sticky. Inventor Ron Jidmar thinks he has a solution to all of that nonsense with a flexible jar design that can be squeezed with one hand to lift contents from the bottom to the top of a jar or container, leaving the other hand free to scoop the contents out cleanly.
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