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World's 'fastest spinning object' created

Posted on Monday, 2 September, 2013 | Comment icon 11 comments

Lasers were used to spin and control the object. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Adams

A team at the University of St Andrews spun a tiny object at 600 million revolutions per minute.

To achieve this speed, the team started with a microscopic sphere of calcium carbonate and used nothing but the force of a laser beam to suspend it in place within a vacuum. To turn the sphere, they relied upon the changing polarization of the laser light that exerted a small twisting force as it passed through it.

The rotational speed achieved was 500,000 times faster than a washing machine and 1,000 times faster that a dentist's drill.

"The rotation rate is so fast that the angular acceleration at the sphere surface is one billion times that of gravity on the Earth surface," said lecturer Dr Michael Mazilu. "It's amazing that the centrifugal forces do not cause the sphere to disintegrate."

Team member Professor Kishan Dholakia also weighed in on the significance of the experiment. "In addition to the exciting fundamental physics aspects, this experiment will allow us to probe the nature of friction in very small systems, which has relevance to the next generation of microscopic devices," he said. "And it's always good to hold a 'world record' - even if for only a while."

Source: BBC News | Comments (11)

Tags: Laser, Spinning

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by flbrnt on 29 August, 2013, 18:29
Fascinating, Still Waters. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Comment icon #3 Posted by cacoseraph on 30 August, 2013, 1:01
Did i miss the part in the article where it disappeared? (edit: ah, the disappearing part was in the little inset paragraph, totally missed it =P) As for the linear velocity at the equator Diameter 0.000004m length around equator (diameter * Pi (I used 3.141592) = 0.000012566368m linear velocity = length around equator * revolutions per second (10 million revolutions per second) = 125.66368m/s that's not even the speed of sound, so quite far from the speed of light. Oh, and even it i had used a more precise value for Pi it would have just added some change to the end of that final ... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by shrooma on 2 September, 2013, 12:41
. the number of rotations was 600 million per second Cacoseraph, not 10 million, so you may have to adjust your final figure..... . *edit to add* ah. it's 600 million per MINUTE, which is of course 10 million per second. sorry.
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin on 2 September, 2013, 18:26
Great read. Hope they continue with the experiments and find something odd or useful.
Comment icon #6 Posted by b0wn on 2 September, 2013, 19:27
Where does it mention that the object disappeared?
Comment icon #7 Posted by cacoseraph on 2 September, 2013, 22:02
In the little inset paragraph under the picture of the dude, iirc. I missed it my first read, too. Definitely not in the main body of text. edit: They could make another ball out of radioactive calcium and real easily check if it is disintegrating or doing something more interesting. My money is on disintegration, though.
Comment icon #8 Posted by brlesq1 on 3 September, 2013, 12:02
Pretty cool! Be great to see what comes out of this.
Comment icon #9 Posted by MysticStrummer on 10 September, 2013, 16:55
Comment icon #10 Posted by Sundew on 17 September, 2013, 21:40
Could they perhaps use another material, like the exotic forms of carbon that form the "Buckyballs"? They should be much stronger and less likely to fly apart, assuming that is what happened.
Comment icon #11 Posted by keithisco on 18 September, 2013, 9:06
Quite right, I really should think before posting at times. I calculate a a Diameter of 9.542690318473885 METRES would be required to achieve a linear velocity of C at 10E7 rps.... but you would probably need to verify that figure

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