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Generating Nano Oscillatory Motion

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the maybe-you-could-power-an-atomic-clock dept.

Power 70

KentuckyFC sends us to arxivblog.com, where he summarizes (in prose that is somewhat more twee than we usually encounter in writing about physics) the conversion of a constant force into oscillatory motion on the nano scale. Here is the article preprint. A research group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has made mushroom-shaped nano-pillars that oscillate in a constant DC field, like metronomes.

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70 comments

Nano Pillars? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348541)

I've heard of people doing weird shit with their iPods, but making pillars from Nano's? I guess anything is possible. Sounds expensive, they might want to try to make pillars out of stone or concrete -- it might be cheaper.

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348575)

But you can't listen to Avril Lavigne with concrete

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20351173)

Really? I MUST buy some of this stuff, urgent.

Re:Nano Pillars? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348857)

I'm a different AC than the poster moded offtopic above, just so you don't blame him. WFT is up with the humorless dolts relentlessly hammering down 'offtopic' anything not funny in their limited worldview? Stop, just stop, okay? If you don't have a sense of humor, just flag posts with "I'm a farkin clueless HumorNazi". Perhaps we need detailed anal-retentive explanations each time of why something isn't funny. Make sure it's excruciatingly detailed and clueless.

On another topic, I wonder if these nano pillars could be used in a fluid domain to pump biological substances. I could envision a kind of heart pump maybe that had no moving parts to wear out or break, yet creates a pressure gradient to transport blood cells.

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348891)

agreed, that AC post was funny. (and it wasn't by me).

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349213)

How the fuck was that funny you cretin?

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349605)

I like it when people talk down to me. Oh yea! Insult me more! I'll just keep laughing cause I think it's funny! call me a bastard!!

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20350121)

Well the evidence suggests that you find any fucking thing funny, so I'm not going to read too much into your disappointing, mediocre riposte.
Although I managed to find some merriment when I imagined your inane grinning rictus frightening passers-by, so pumped up with anti-depressant meds that you somehow find your life bearable.

Re:Nano Pillars? (0, Redundant)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348927)

When you post a joke, you take the risk that it's not funny. When you post it as an FP the risk doubles, since an unfunny joke as FP just looks like a grab for attention.

Moderation isn't a comment on anyone's personal worth, hygiene, or penis size. If you laughed at the joke, good for you, but I'm not surprised if most mods consider it a dumb pun. Complaining about moderation is just about the most pointless thing possible, second only to responding to such complaints.

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20350073)

"second only to responding to such complaints".

You just responded to such a complaint. Oh, did you shoot yourself in the foot or in the face?

He just did it for the lulz.

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349165)

I have an exquisitely well-tuned sense of humor, so I am well-qualified to tell you that you're an unfunny cunt. Would you tell that joke to your friends? No because you don't have any. I am a mean-spirited bastard but at least I know not to say fucking stupid unfunny things on a public forum.

Re:Nano Pillars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349177)

now that was funny.
really though, it did make me chuckle.

Slashdot Notice: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348563)

Impeach Bush [truthdig.com] With A Federal Criminal Complaint FP.

Coincidentally, to confirm that I'm not a script, I had to type "dissent".

Amazing.

Attnention: slasdhot: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348573)

Heres sum stuff i h8 bout ppl in general so if ur lyk dis save time and dont post ok?

1.People who point at their wrist while asking for the time...I kno were my watch is, where the is yours? Do i point at my down below when i ask where the toilet is?

2.People who are willing to get off their bacside to search the entire room for the tv remote cause they refuse to walk 2 the tv and change the channel manually.

  3.When people say while watchin a film"did u see that?". NO fool, i paid 4 pounds to come to the cinema and stare at the dam floor.

4.When you are waiting for a bus and someone asks "has the bus been yet?" if the bus came would i be standing her fool.

5.when somethin dramatic happens lyk u get punched in ur face and sum1 says "are u alright?" oh ye im estatic quik call him back tell him 2 punch me again!

Twee (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348635)

Twee: Nausiatingly cute. [worldwidewords.org]

Re:Twee (2, Informative)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348665)

The title is "Invasion of the jivin' nano-shrooms" just to give you a taste of the twee.

That ain't twee. (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348751)

I didn't know what "twee" was, so I had to look it up. Applying the jive filter doesn't make it nauseatingly cute, just nauseating.

Besides, is this what Slashdot has devolved to? All you have to do is apply a text filter to an article to get your story submission accepted? Sheesh! Maybe if I had borkified the story I submitted a couple of weeks ago about the shuttle not needing its tiles repaired it wouldn't have been rejected.

Re:Twee (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348697)

All the entries seem to be written that way. It's irritating and not even funny the first time, let alone repeatedly, but the practice of giving cited researchers a Chris Berman-esque nickname is a nice innovation in the world of science journalism. Even if the nicknames are hardly (and I never thought I'd write these words) up to Chris Berman's level of cleverness.

Re:Twee (0)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348715)

Well, I just learned something. I had thought that "twee" meant gay, and I was wondering why kdawson was being so hypocritical as to call someone else gay.

Re:Twee (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349101)

Twee: Nausiatingly cute.

From TFA:

Convertin' a constant force into an oscillatin' one is a useful trick. Ya'll seen em:

Blech. X-(
:. Q.E.D.

Re:Twee (1)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349495)

*grumble* after reading that I didn't think it was that twee..

..to me it felt a little more.. foghorn-leghorn

I was looking for this exact thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20348657)

Just the other day, my 3-year-old said: "Dad...my school wants me to generate Nano Oscillatory Motion by next week", so of course I was scouring the countryside going to garage sales and second-hand stores...but here we go! Right here on Slashdot! Very useful stuff.

Re:I was looking for this exact thing... (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349271)

you're on your when it comes to decorating them in glitter glue though.

Magic mushrooms? (2)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348717)

So they tilt to the beat, do they?

Well.....they still aint got nothing on the singning mushrooms from Tength Kingdom!

Ah.....suck an elf.

Smaller Scale Still (2, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348719)

Excuse me, but, doesn't this happen on the atomic level? Apply heat, and atoms vibrate.

Re:Smaller Scale Still (3, Insightful)

jcorno (889560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348805)

Excuse me, but, doesn't this happen on the atomic level? Apply heat, and atoms vibrate.


Yeah. At random frequencies, and in random directions. What good is that?

Re:Smaller Scale Still (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348979)

Well, by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) one could make all the molecules in a hostess' undergarments leap one foot simultaneously to the left in accordance with the theory of indeterminacy. Some people might use it to break the ice at parties.

Re:Smaller Scale Still (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349023)

I've always loved that description, except I've never thought that one foot was nearly enough. Wouldn't the waitress just end up with one bare leg, and the other in the wrong leg-hole? And even more importantly, whose left?!?

Re:Smaller Scale Still (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349499)

And even more importantly, whose left?!?br>
I wouldn't know. I don't get invited to those sorts of parties.

Sir, you're forgetting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349681)

...that only works if you reverse the polarity.

Re:Smaller Scale Still (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348987)

They need regular motion, like a pendulum, and it's more than one atom working together. Applying heat makes individual atoms move randomly and generally not in the same direction as others.

NOT a constant force. (0)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348783)

(Emphasis mine)

The force disappears and the mushroom's stiffness sends it swinging back to the source again like metronome, and the process starts again.

Voila! A nanomechanical oscillator that converts a a constant force into an oscillation.
Huh. A force which is NOT constant is described as a constant force. Nice. This is just the charged-ping-pong-ball-near-a-Van-de-Graaf generator experiment, only writ on a small scale.

(YES it is) - Re:NOT a constant force. (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348931)

You are mis-reading the article...

Give the mushroom a push and it leans towards the source electrode where electrons tunnel across into the mushroom head. The DC field exerts a force on this extra charge on the 'shroom, pushing it towards the drain electrode where the electrons jump ship. The force disappears and the mushroom's stiffness sends it swinging back to the source again like metronome, and the process starts again.

The stiffness/weight/pressure/whatever is the constant force. The (constant) DC field works in conjunction with the charge on the mushroom head pulling it to the drain electrode - which drains the charge - and then the (constant) stiffness/weight/etc pulls it back to the source electrode where the mushroom head gets "re-charged" - thus starting the whole process all over again...

Re:(YES it is) - Re:NOT a constant force. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349007)

I understand that the DC force from the electrodes is essentially constant. However, the total force on the "mushroom" is NOT constant (as you state in your post). I read the summary as giving a whole lot of emphasis on this "constant force" thing, which is probably my mistake.

      It's really no different a concept than seeing a bouncing ball as subject to a constant (gravitational) force, except when it's not, as when the concrete smacks it back upward.

      Perhaps this is what people more conversant with computers than I mean when they post stuff like "Why the heck is this news for nerds? Everyone knows this!" To me, this was a non-starter. Slow news day?

Re:(YES it is) - Re:NOT a constant force. (2, Informative)

Control Group (105494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349091)

It's really no different a concept than seeing a bouncing ball as subject to a constant (gravitational) force, except when it's not, as when the concrete smacks it back upward.

If you have an oscillating body of a given mass, then obviously the net force on the body isn't constant, given F=ma. There's no question about that (though it would certainly be newsworthy if someone discovered that F=ma doesn't hold). The question here is whether the input force is constant. The story is that they've replicated on a nano-scale turning a constant force input into an oscillating net force at the point of interest, something which has apparently not been done before.

Re:(YES it is) - Re:NOT a constant force. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349443)

The story is that they've replicated on a nano-scale turning a constant force input into an oscillating net force at the point of interest, something which has apparently not been done before.
Good point. However, I'd bet that it's NOT a constant force input, as they're using a lock-in amp to monitor things. That implies an oscillating voltage on a measureable scale. After all, as the mushroom head traverses the space, the Coulombic repulsion on the electrons waiting at the pick-up site decreases; once the electronic cargo is dropped off and starts wandering down the egress wire, this force disappears (assuming a grounded oscillator).
      I don't know if this has been done on a nano-scale before: you're probably right that this aspect is the real news.

Re:NOT a constant force. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20354633)

Agreed. If we could generate power from a constant force, wouldn't that solve all of our power problems forever? Gravity is a constant force, and it's available in all parts of the earth at a constant level at all times. In that light, it sounds a little too much like perpetual motion to me.

A song springs to mind... (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20348831)

... Jumping electrons = badgers;
            nano-pillar = mushroom;
            I'm still working on the "Snaaaake! Snaaaake!" bits.

Re:A song springs to mind... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349163)

I've a different song in mind - Bad Karma in the UK. Getting the lyrics to work is much easier when they never made any sense anyway.

Re:A song springs to mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349333)

So what your claiming is that this intellectual property clearly originally dates to this:

http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/ [badgerbadgerbadger.com]

and that clearly the great alien minds who tried to explain this to us simply oversimplified and explained it with a dancing flash animation for kids?

Re:A song springs to mind... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349361)

I'm not sure if that's what I meant. Do you have a dancing flash animation to maybe explain it to me?

One of these (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349103)

The paper has very few details. The thoughts I get are:
1) Hints of 'room temperature' superconductors.
2) A new type of amplifier -- only maybe.
3) A joke paper. That seems to be what most think.
The charged ping-pong balls on the van der Graf generator is a nice explanation. 16VDC on the nano-scale is HIGH VOLTAGE.

Wasn't It Cool When... (-1, Troll)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349133)

Wasn't it cool when science gave us things like electricity and airplanes and phones? Lately, it seems we get more and more of this "we can make really small shit move" stuff.

How the fuck are we supposed to make the average USian understand what this is good for? Hell, I hardly understand what this is good for and I read science and engineering shit all the time.

If they only need a constant field, could they power the device with gravity? Even if this is a "no", it would be cool to have nano machines inside you that were powered when a Doc used a "magic wand" to power the little buggers. Program them to repair a wound and, when injured, they'd be attracted to the Doc holding an energy source over the wound.

Is there enough force in the motion to connect a drivetrain to the device? How much input do we need to get any useful motion out of this?

Re:Wasn't It Cool When... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349305)

Wasn't it cool when science gave us things like electricity and airplanes and phones? Lately, it seems we get more and more of this "we can make really small shit move" stuff.


You know, electricity's basically about making really small shit move, but I think it had quite a good reception with the masses.

Sad news ... Fidel Castro, dead at 81 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20349179)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Socialist/Communist dictator Fidel Castro was found dead in his Havana home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his regime, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Not only twee...it is wrong too (4, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349233)

Firstly electromagnetism is understood down to scales many orders of magnitudes lower than the nanoscale. QED is the second most accurate scientific theory ever (special relativity is the winner) and works at distances considerably less than nuclear diameters (one million times smaller than nano-scale). Secondly a pendulum does not convert a constant force into an oscillation because it has to have an initial excitation in the form of an applied force. This force must be applied and then removed so it is non-constant. Even if we ignore that the pendulum requires a string tension to work and that is an EM force so it is wrong to think of it as pure gravity. Conclusion: this guys physics is as heavily accented as his american.

Re:Not only twee...it is wrong too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20356081)

A pendulum is acted upon by a constant force, gravity. The act of raising the pendulum isn't what sets it into oscillation. The releasing of it and letting gravity act on it without a counter force is what starts the oscillation.

Re:Not only twee...it is wrong too (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380233)

A pendulum is acted upon by a constant force, gravity. The act of raising the pendulum isn't what sets it into oscillation. The releasing of it and letting gravity act on it without a counter force is what starts the oscillation.

i.e. you have to excite it from the groundstate using a non-gravitational force...and you still have not addressed the EM force in the string which is in fact what allows it to oscillate. The only example of a pure gravitational oscillator I can think of would be a globular cluster where the stars oscillate about the centre of mass of the cluster. However there the gravitational force is certainly not constant.

I hate this (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20349583)

I hate when I'm a geek and still don't understand the news on Slashdot. :-(

I'm Swedish so I didn't even understand the word "twee". Now I at least added it as a keyword for the story, and I think I'm done here.

We already had this. (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20350801)

Your average slashdotter produces millions of nano-oscillators daily, and usually releases them while imagining covering a naked and petrified Natalie Portman in hot grits. All it takes is one hand, a few minutes, and a locked door.

Mal-2

Things ain't what they used to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20351997)

Can all the guys who came over from digg or wherever please go back.

I was really looking forward to the low down on this from several half assed but semi-informed dweebs and all I can surmise is that they're either all on vacation at the moment or they can't be bothered trawling through this shite.

Euphemizmz (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 6 years ago | (#20353609)

Its interesting how everyone seems a lot more concerned with the language used to report this bit of science rather than the discovery itself. The comments on the original blog entry are quite interesting. Several people complain about the "southern slang" or "aww-shucks" style of writing. I looked at it and thought "hip-hop lyric" myself.

We're all getting at something, aren't we? I also wonder if people complained this much when science journals began switching from Latin and German to English.

Re:Euphemizmz (1)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20356093)

This isn't like switching from one recognized language to another so more of your audience can understand. This is intentionally using bad grammar that's likely to make it harder for your audience to understand, in the name of spicing up boring science/getting attention daddy never gave you/looking cool to people who don't get it anyway/some other stupid reason.

what is the sounds of one hand clapping (1)

Hasmanean (814562) | more than 6 years ago | (#20357319)

What is the sounds of one hand clapping?
What is the sound of a DC field causing oscillations?

It is one and the same thing.
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