Mitchell Physics Building
College Station, Texas 77843-4242
We experimentally demonstrate a microscopic engine powered by the local reversible demixing of a critical mixture. We show that, when an absorbing microsphere is optically trapped by a focused laser beam in a subcritical mixture, it is set into rotation around the optical axis of the beam because of the emergence of diffusiophoretic propulsion. This behavior can be controlled by adjusting the optical power, the temperature, and the criticality of the mixture.
Truncated distributions, an elementary concept in probability and statistics, may be underappreciated in physics, to the point of going unnoticed when recognizing them as such could simplify calculations and explain why certain mathematical features occur. I will try to make this point in the context of the quantum theory of the laser, and also indicate some other models in physics where these distributions turn up.
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