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Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability

Department of Physics

Professor Eugene Terentjev (Biological and Soft Systems)


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]. 

Light Driven Motor

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.

Winton Annual Report 2019

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