Disclosed are a method and apparatus for converting light energy to mechanical energy by modification of surface tension on a supporting fluid. The apparatus comprises an object which may be formed as a composite object comprising a support matrix and a highly light absorptive material. The support matrix may comprise a silicon polymer. The highly light absorptive material may comprise vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VANTs) embedded in the support matrix. The composite object is supported on a fluid. By exposing the highly light absorptive material to light, heat is generated, which changes the surface tension of the composite object, causing it to move physically within the fluid.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract Number DE-AC02-05CH11231 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.