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The world’s fastest oscillating mechanical device

Roland Piquepaille writes "It's an antenna, it's a MEMS device, and it's a macroscopic quantum system. This antenna, made of 50 billion atoms, is so far the largest structure to display quantum mechanical movements. It's also the fastest device of its kind in the world, oscillating about 1.5 billion times per second. Such technology might soon be used in our cell phones. But more importantly, this device bridges classic and quantum physics. Such "mechanical/quantum mechanical hybrids could be used for quantum computing" in the future. Read more for other details, references and a picture showing different views of this world's fastest nanomechanical structure."

Ed. Note: This submission has been edited to correct misleading terms. See first comment.

2 Responses to “The world’s fastest oscillating mechanical device”

  1. RobertBradbury Says:

    Yet another example of "nanohype"

    The original BU press release for this is here [1].

    If you read it carefully and look at the picture closely you will see clear misuses of the prefix "nano-". It is used 14 times in the press release. When I saw this I wrote a note to both the BU Press Release office and the Principle Investigator pointing out that this was clearly a case of nanohype and failing to describe things accurately and that both the Press Office and Dr. Mohanty should make an effort to be more accurate in the future. The device dimensions are > 1 micrometer and the oscillations are on on the picometer or femtometer scale. To properly use the nano- prefix (at least according to the NSF definition) the device dimensions have to be less than 100nm. And even that is a poor definition since all of the chips being produced with 90nm and soon 70nm dimensions could be labeled "nanochips". If we don't do a better job of educating people then we are going to have people running around saying "I've got a nanoCPU in my PC" or "I've got Nano-RAM" in my iPOD", etc.

    It also seems (to me) to be a very large stretch of the imagination to think this is going to have any impact on quantum computing. Though I am not an expert in this area I doubt that Dr. Mohanty is either (though I'm willing to stand corrected). If that is accurate then it would be yet another example of over-hyping what would otherwise be a very interesting scientific development.

    I would like to request that people making submissions to nanodot read press releases with a critical eye and ask themselves "Is this whatever *really* nanotechnology?" The buzz around "nano-" at this point is at such a high level that people will attempt to bend the rules whenever they can.

    1. Note: I am not certain, but BU may be renumbering their press releases (bad…) so the URL may become invalid. If so you may need to search the site for it. The precise title is: "WORLD'S FASTEST OSCILLATING NANOMACHINE HOLDS PROMISE FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS, QUANTUM COMPUTING"

  2. Anonymous Coward Says:

    Re:Yet another example of "nanohype"

    "Fastest" is also a mis-nomer if you refer to oscillation as speed. If you instead use velocity as speed, then this little guy isn't that fast. 1.5GHz over picometers translates to 10x10e-12(m) *1.5x10e9(Hz), or roughly 0.015 m/s.

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