Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No. 208: Transform information to energy (December 8, 2010)

Eiro Muneyuki, a professor of Chuo University, and Masaki Sano, a professor of Tokyo University succeeded in the experiment to show that information can be transformed to energy for the first time in the world. They did the experiment in the situation where two-packed plastic particles, each of which is 300 nanometers in diameter, roll freely because of the Brownian motion caused by the surrounding heat, and made the mechanism that the energy situation of the particles goes up and down the stair by applying alternative voltage from outside. They observed the moves of the particles using a high-speed camera and successfully made the energy climb the energy stair by changing the electric field instantly depending on the information obtained from the observation. The conversion efficiency that can be obtained by dividing obtained energy by the energy equivalent to the acquired amount of information was 30% at a maximum. The energy can be applied to the control of the micro machine that operates inside the body. The research results seemingly contradict the “second law of thermodynamics,” but they confirmed that no contradiction would occur should energy necessary for information processing be taken into consideration. British science magazine Nature Physics placed the research results in the December issue.

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