Man-made object rotates 300 billion revolutions per minute

A “dumbbell-shaped” nanoparticle powered by the force and torque of light sets the world record for the fastest rotating object.

Researchers led by Associate Professor of Astrophysics Tongcang Li from Purdue University in the US have created a microscopic nanoparticle that rotates at an astonishing speed of up to 300 billion revolutions per minute, half a million times faster. times the speed of a dental drill, making it the fastest rotating object, as well as the world’s most sensitive torque detector.

Man-made object rotates 300 billion revolutions per minute
The team used a laser to spin the nanoparticles in a vacuum. (Photo: Newatlas).

The nanoparticle, which is made of silica (silicon dioxide) , looks like a microscopic dumbbell with two spheres connected at both ends when viewed under a microscope. To create rotation for the object, the team used only the power of light. They first launched the nanoparticle into a vacuum with a laser, then used another laser to accelerate it, according to the study published in the journal Nature Nanotech.

Light particles, or photons, always exert a forceful effect on every object they come into contact with. This force is known as light radiation pressure. Normally, it is too weak (millions of times smaller than gravity) to produce any noticeable effect, but in a vacuum with very little friction, radiant pressure can cause objects to move.

In 2018, Li and colleagues also created a similar nanoparticle that set a record of 60 billion revolutions per minute. The object in the new experiment rotates 5 times faster. In addition, it provides 600 – 700 times more sensitive torque detection than previous tools.

Man-made object rotates 300 billion revolutions per minute
Silica nanoparticles viewed under a microscope. (Photo: Newatlas).

The idea of using the pressure of light radiation to animate objects is being used to test new methods of operating space engines. Last year, the Planetary Society successfully launched the LightSail 2 spacecraft that is capable of self-propulsion by harnessing the energy of photons from the Sun, similar to how a sail is used to catch the wind. to push the boat.