Scientists Create World’s Fastest Spinning Manmade Object, Microscopic Sphere Rotates 1,000 Times Faster than a Dental Drill

By Philip Ross on August 29, 2013 1:00 PM EDT

spinning object
Scientists in Scotland have created the world’s fastest spinning manmade object. The microscopic ball of calcium reached speeds of 600 million revolutions per minute - a thousand times faster than a dentist drill. (Photo: Flickr/creative_stock)

If you're prone to dizziness, this next bit of news is certainly going to make your head spin. Scientists in Scotland have created the world's fastest spinning manmade object, a miniature mass of atoms held in place by a vacuum and whirled around by a laser. According to Live Science, researchers from the University of St. Andrews rotated the microscopic sphere at speeds of 600 million revolutions per minute, or RPMS.

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As The BBC notes, that's a thousand times faster than a dental drill, and half a million times faster than a washing machine.

To create the world's fastest spinning manmade object, the team of scientists made a tiny sphere of calcium with a diameter of just 4 micrometers - about a tenth of the diameter of a strand of hair. They then levitated the small mass inside a vacuum and shot a laser light at it - "like levitating a beach ball with a jet of water," The BBC reports.  

Without any air friction to slow it down, the sphere was allowed to gain an extremely high rate of rotation. So high, in fact, that it became the fastest spinning manmade object in the world.

"This is an exciting, thought-provoking experiment that pushes the boundary of our understanding of rotating bodies," Dr. Yoshihiki  Arita, one of the scientists involved in the project, told The Independent. "I am intrigued with the prospect of extending this to multiple trapped particles and rotating systems."

Why make the world's fastest spinning object?

According to The Independent, the world's fastest spinning manmade object could open the doors to understanding quantum friction, the idea that two objects traveling by each other could experience lateral force arising from quantum fluxes in the vacuum.

"In theory, such an experiment could evaluate whether quantum friction, which could slow the motion of quantum particles even without any external sources of friction, truly exists," Live Science reports.

We also think the technology could be used to make the world's most awesome carnival thrill ride.

Read more from iScience Times:

Acoustic Levitation: Scientists Use Sound Waves To Move And Mix Objects In Midair, Create First Airborne Instant Coffee [VIDEO]

Spinning Statue: 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Relic Mysteriously Rotates On Its Own [VIDEO]

World's Fastest Drummer: Tom Grosset Strikes Drum Over 1,200 Times In 60 Seconds [VIDEO]

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