Researchers at the University of Augsburg in Germany have developed a blueprint for a kind of quantum electric motor that uses just two atoms:
Their motor consists of one neutral atom and one charged atom trapped in a ring-shaped optical lattice. The atoms jump from one site in the lattice to the next as they travel round the ring. Placing this ring in an alternating magnetic field creates the conditions necessary to keep the charged atom moving round the the ring.
As with many elements of quantum physics it is difficult to imagine precisely what you could do with such a miniscule motor, but for the time being the researchers are seeking to attach the motor to a nanonoscopic resonator, thus making the resonator vibrate.
In the meantime we are left speculating as to what peculiar corners of which unexpected futures devices such as this could find a use and a narrative.
[via Slashdot, from Technology Review][image from Technology Review]