The objective of the project is to build a continuous-operation motor driven by light, study its operation and attempt to optimise its efficiency and power output.
The concept of a motor driven by a closed elastic string that utilises a natural reversible contraction-expansion cycle of the elastic material, has been know for over 40 years [Steinberg et al. Nature 210:568, 1966].
However the lack of a suitable elastic material that is capable of sustaining a substantial stress has limited the development of such a device. Recent theoretical work by Knežević and Warner [Phys. Rev. E 88:040501, 2013] and a breakthrough from the group in material design [Nature Mater. 13:36, 2013] has opened an opportunity to make this motor viable.