Faculty in the News In the News

May 13, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Road & Track: Atom-Sized Race Cars Face Off in a Microscopic Racing Series

The Nonobobcat, designed by Dr. Eric Masson.

The Nonobobcat, designed by Dr. Eric Masson.

Road & Track’s Sam Eifling reports on Ohio University’s participation in “Atom-Sized Race Cars Face Off in a Microscopic Racing Series, For Science.”

“The world’s smallest racing series takes place on an electrified track made of polished gold, but you’ll need a microscope to see the action,” says the report.

This fall, physics teams from around the world will compete in a race under extreme conditions: a track of polished gold frozen to minus-270 degrees Celsius in a vacuum. The cars will be constructed atom-by-atom for maximum speed and durability. Individual electrons allows for precision cornering, making turns measurable in the billionths of a meter. The first-ever nanocar race promises to be as far-out as it is tiny.

France’s National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, is sponsoring the competition among teams from Germany, France, Japan, Ohio University, and a collaboration between researchers in Austria and at Rice University. Each team has designed a “car” of roughly 100 atoms. Some feature rotating “wheels,” while the German team is banking on a four-bladed windmill configuration.

See the Forum article Masson, Hla Debut ‘Nanobobcat’ for World’s First Nanocar Race.

Over the next year, the OHIO Bobcat Nano-Wagon Team—along with competitors from France, Germany, Japan and USA/Austria—will get ready to race their nanocars along a tiny track made of gold. The Nanocar Race will be held in May 2017.

Constructing OHIO’s runway and driving the car will be Dr. Saw-Wai Hla, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, and building the Nanobobcat will be Dr. Eric Masson, Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry.


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