Posted 4 months ago on Dec. 28, 2012, 1:19 a.m. EST by ivyquinn
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(Phys.org)—Magnetic levitation has been demonstrated for a variety of objects, from trains to frogs, but so far no one has developed a practical maglev-based actuator that converts some external source of energy into motion. Now in a new study, researchers for the first time have used a laser to control the motion of a magnetically levitating graphite disk. By changing the disk's temperature, the laser can change the disk's levitation height and move it in a controlled direction, which has the potential to be scaled up and used as a light-driven human transportation system. Laser light or sunlight can also cause the levitating disk to rotate at over 200 rpm, which could lead to a new type of light energy conversion system.