The News Today
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2.24.20
Dizzying Speed

Scientists Break World Record for Fastest-Spinning Object

January 23rd 20__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Hard Science
Purdue University/Vincent Walter

Broken Record

Scientists from Purdue University have broken their own record for building the world’s fastest-spinning object.

In 2018, the team built a tiny machine capable of completing 60 billion revolutions per minute. Their latest creation rotates five times faster — and they say it could improve our scientific understanding of “nothingness.”

Spin Cycle

For their study, which was recently published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers created a silica nanoparticle that looks like two tiny spheres pushed together.

Using a laser, they levitated the nanoparticle in a vacuum, a space completely devoid of matter. Finally, they used another laser to spin the nanoparticle, reaching a staggering top speed of 300 billion revolutions per minute.

As pointed out in a Purdue press release, that’s about 500,000 times faster than a dentist’s drill.

Good for Nothingness

The fun of setting a new world record for fastest-spinning object aside, the Purdue team believes their creation could improve scientist’s understanding of the “nothingness” within a vacuum.

While vacuums are devoid of matter, scientists theorize that quantum particles within them still interact with objects. As it rotates, the team’s nanoparticle can detect and measure the effects of those quantum particles — potentially yielding new insights into how the quantum world interacts with the physical one defined by classical physics.

READ MORE: Scientists Made the Fastest Spinning Object on Earth to Study ‘Nothingness’ [Vice]

More on nanotech: The World’s Smallest Engine Is the Same Size as a Single Ion