The world's smallest motor is Belgian
A Belgian company has developed a 1 cm² motor with increasing numbers of applications, mainly in the medical field.
Founded in 2013, Xeryon has developed a "micromotor" based on completely innovative technology. The Leuven-based designers decided to use the piezoelectric effect, i.e. the property of certain materials whereby they become electrically polarised under the action of mechanical stress and conversely deform when an electric field is applied.
Practically speaking, it is a ceramic block measuring barely 10 by 10 millimetres, and 2 millimetres thick. As soon as it is supplied with energy, it starts to vibrate up to 200,000 times per second. It is then able to move an object ultra-fast and ultra-accurately, to a millionth of a millimetre.
The medical world is particularly interested in this technology. Its application has already been integrated into microscope tables to automate cell photos from a few nanometres away. Other applications are also being considered in the context of blood or DNA analysis devices, or for drug delivery.
This "micromotor" could be used in any situation where fast, accurate movements are required and the instrument used must be as small as possible. Applications in the field of 3D printers, robotic surgery and the microchip industry are also possible.
Orders are coming in so fast that the Leuven-based company is planning to open a factory in Haasrode (province of Flemish Brabant) and during the first phase will allow the production of around 50,000 motors per year.
We expect that these tiny motors will soon be buzzing all over the world!