The fastest rotating object in the world that can hit three hundred billion revolutions per minute
Scientists have developed the fastest rotating object in the world that is powered only by light and can rotate three hundred billion times per minute
- The nanoparticle object runs in a vacuum at 300 billion revolutions per minute
- It is powered by light that is strong enough to cause spin due to the vacuum
- Researchers say that the rotating particle can be used to measure quantum effects
The world’s fastest spinning object that can reach three hundred billion revolutions per minute (RPM), powered only by the power of light, has been developed by scientists.
The small dumbbell shaped nanoparticle is spun at considerable speeds by two different light forces that hit it in a vacuum chamber.
Researchers at Purdue University developed the swirling object to try to beat their own previous record from July 2018, when they ran a similar object at 60 billion RPM.
For comparison: dental drills are known to reach 500,000 revolutions per minute – 600,000 times slower than this new nanoscale rotor.
The research team, led by Tongcang Li, says that apart from setting a record, they hope to use the findings to measure quantum effects such as friction in a vacuum.
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Researchers at Purdue University developed the swirling object suspended in a vacuum, as shown in the animation above and shown under a microscope in the second image, to try to beat their own earlier record of 60 billion RPM from July 2018
To run the nanoparticle, the team shone two lasers on it – one to hold it in place and another to run it.
When the light from the laser beam hits an object, it exerts a certain force – known as radiation pressure.
Usually this force is too weak to have any impact. In a vacuum – where there is very little friction – objects can, however, rotate at record speeds.
It is a force a million times weaker than the pressure exerted on people by gravity – but it still exists and can even propel satellites in space with the help of light sails.
“It is always exciting to set a world record,” said study author Tongcang Li.
‘In the 1600s, Johannes Kepler saw that the tails of comets always turned away from the sun due to radiation pressure.
“We use the same thing, but with concentrated lasers, to make the nanoparticles float and rotate.”
To make the nanoparticle spin, the team shone two lasers on it – one to hold it in place and another to make it spin
In addition to the new record in terms of rotational speed, the nanoparticles can measure torque at levels 600 – 700 times more sensitive than any device.
Previous research has suggested that even objects in a vacuum lifted by lasers experience a very minimal level of friction.
They discovered that this is caused by virtual photons, a quantum fluctuation in the vacuum, something that Professor Li wants to study further.
The nanocouple detector could also be used to measure related effects, including the Casmir effect and nanoscale magnetism, allowing engineers to eventually develop and control nano-electronic devices.
The research is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
WHAT ARE NANOPARTICLES?
Nanoparticles are small – the microscopic substances are between one and 100 nanometers in size.
For comparison 100 nm, the largest of the particles is one 254,000th inch and 1 nm is one 24,400,000th inch.
They are both natural and made thanks to human activities and have unique characteristics that are not seen in larger materials.
The properties of nanoparticle substances differ much more from those of the same substance.
This difference makes them interesting for science – they bridge the gap between bulk materials and molecular structures such as atoms.
Manufactured nanoparticles have been used in medicine, engineering, environmental sciences and pure research.