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Driving a Macroscopic Oscillator with the Stochastic Motion of a Hydrogen Molecule

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Science  09 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6108, pp. 779-782
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227621

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Abstract

Energy harvesting from noise is a paradigm proposed by the theory of stochastic resonances. We demonstrate that the random switching of a hydrogen (H2) molecule can drive the oscillation of a macroscopic mechanical resonator. The H2 motion was activated by tunneling electrons and caused fluctuations of the forces sensed by the tip of a noncontact atomic force microscope. The stochastic molecular noise and the periodic oscillation of the tip were coupled in a concerted dynamic that drives the system into self-oscillation. This phenomenon could be a way for enhancing the transfer of energy from incoherent sources into coherent dynamics of a molecular engine.

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