Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Create 'Fastest Man-Made Spinning Object'

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the 'round-and-'round dept.

Science 159

dryriver sends this news from the BBC: "A team of researchers claims to have created the world's fastest spinning man-made object. They were able to levitate and spin a microscopic sphere at speeds of up to 600 million revolutions per minute. This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine and more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill. The work by the University of St Andrews scientists is published in Nature Communications. Although there is much international research exploring what happens at the boundary between classical physics and quantum physics, most of this experimental work uses atoms or molecules. To do this they manufactured a microscopic sphere of calcium carbonate only four millionths of a meter in diameter. The team then used the minuscule forces of laser light to hold the sphere with the radiation pressure of light — rather like levitating a beach ball with a jet of water. They exploited the property of polarization of the laser light that changed as the light passed through the levitating sphere, exerting a small twist or torque. Placing the sphere in vacuum largely removed the drag due to any gas environment, allowing the team to achieve the very high rotation rates. In addition to the rotation, the team observed a 'compression' of the excursions or 'wobble' of the particle in all three dimensions, which can be understood as a 'cooling' of the motion. Essentially the particle behaved like the world's smallest gyroscope, stabilizing its motion around the axis of rotation."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Jay Carney is all: (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#44701141)

"You guys ain't even seen angular velocity until you've seen my press conference work."

Re:Jay Carney is all: (1)

techprophet (1281752) | about a year ago | (#44701151)

A statement like that could only be made at a physics conference.

Summary wtf (1, Troll)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44702101)

Ftfs:

They were able to levitate and spin a microscopic sphere at speeds of up to 600 million revolutions per minute. This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine

wtf? Washing machines spin at 599.5 million rpm?

Re:Summary wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702161)

I thought that sounded odd as well, where can I get one of the washing machines?

Re:Summary wtf (1)

spazdor (902907) | about a year ago | (#44702179)

What exactly do you think the word "times" means?

Re:Summary wtf (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44702245)

The unit of measurement here is rpm, aka times per minute. Unit A is 600m [unit], 500k [unit] faster than unit B. I will accept your apology now

Re:Summary wtf (1, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44702447)

My washing machine runs at 1500rpm for it's extraction cycle. But most typically run at 1200rpm which multiplied by 500,000 gives you 600,000,000

It's amazing what math does when you actually run the numbers and then take the time to look up the target measurement.

Re:Summary wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702493)

What rpm does it need to run to extract that apostrophe?

Re:Summary wtf (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44702533)

I'm afraid we're being trolled. I bit, too.

Re:Summary wtf (2)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about a year ago | (#44702471)

The summary says:

This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine

Similarly, I could say "30 is 10 times more than 3". The summary didn't claim that the sphere in question spun 500krpm faster than a washing machine, but 500k times faster, which is another claim entirely (i.e. that a washing machine spins at about 1200rpm).

Re:Summary wtf (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44702489)

The summary says:

This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine

Similarly, I could say "30 is 10 times more than 3".

30 times is 27 times more than 3 times. Amirite?

Re:Summary wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702553)

The "more" in your last statement implies addition, which the original line did not include.

30 rpm is 10 times (as in x, or multiply) faster than 3 rpm. If there are two meanings to a word [times], and you purposely pick on the obviously incorrect meaning, it doesn't make you brilliant. It makes you a pedant.

Re:Summary wtf (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#44702579)

If you're going to play that game, 30 times is 10 times times 3.

Re:Summary wtf (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#44702563)

Even if 'times' is equivalent to revolutions, there is no way it is equivalent to revolutions per minute. Unless you really suck at math.

Re:Summary wtf (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44702515)

Epic math fail! 600 million / 500,000 = 7500. Actually no, epic simple arithmetic fail.

Re:Summary wtf (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44702693)

self fail

Re:Summary wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702521)

600M/500K=1200 :)

Re:Jay Carney is all: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702485)

... most of this experimental work uses atoms or molecules

Really? So does mine!

Hey I know! (5, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44701153)

"A team of researchers claims to have created the world's fastest spinning man-made object."

A politician?

--
BMO

Re:Hey I know! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44701301)

"A team of researchers claims to have created the world's fastest spinning man-made object."

A politician?

--
BMO

A marketer or political consultant - if they had quantum numbers, well, they'd be quantum!

Re:Hey I know! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44702457)

Nope, a Fox news talking head.

No political jokes please (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44701587)

Syriasly

Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701625)

the robot from adventure time got jokes!

Re:Hey I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701805)

The founding fathers (in their graves)?

Re:Hey I know! (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44701841)

"The founding fathers (in their graves)?"

Roger Williams and William Penn when Tea Party idiots claim that the US is a "Christian Country."

--
BMO

Re:Hey I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702251)

I would have to disagree with you. While not all of the same denomination of Christianity. The founding fathers were Christians. Hell, the Anti-Federalists argued against the US Constitution because it didn't mention God specifically.
 
    Many of the founding fathers came from states that DID have an official state religion. It wasn't that they didn't think the US was a Christian country, it was that they didn't want a a national government to dictate which branch of Christianity they were suppose to follow - as was done in Europe.

Re:Hey I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702865)

They were deists, not christians.

Re:Hey I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701887)

"A team of researchers claims to have created the world's fastest spinning man-made object."

A politician?

Its nerdiness suggests otherwise;

This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine and more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill.

I think they're saying that this thing could move faster up Gartner's Hype-Curve^tm than Cloud computing ...

Re:Hey I know! (5, Funny)

Bringer128 (2261266) | about a year ago | (#44702107)

No, a cat with a peanut butter sandwich attached to its back.

DAMN! You guys beat me to... (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | about a year ago | (#44701173)

...the politician jokes!

Like My Head (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701187)

It's spinning as fast as my head when trying to understand why people don't understand what part of "illegal" in the phrase "illegal immigrant" people do not understand.

Re:Like My Head (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701227)

It's spinning as fast as my head when trying to understand why people don't understand what part of "illegal" in the phrase "illegal immigrant" people do not understand.

It's spinning as fast as my head trying to understand that clusterfuck of a comment

Re:Like My Head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701811)

If your head is spinning that fast your ears could propel it to the air, like Dumbo, making it possible for you to monitor the grave situation above the border area and report any transgressions to the proper authorities.

Re:Like My Head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701831)

It's spinning as fast as my head when trying to understand why people don't understand what part of "illegal" in the phrase "illegal immigrant" people do not understand.

It means "Mexican" right?

-- MISSING DATA SEGMENT --[byline] block not found (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701203)

did I just see that?

Re:-- MISSING DATA SEGMENT --[byline] block not fo (2)

multisync (218450) | about a year ago | (#44701245)

did I just see that?

Yup. I saw it too in the byline and user Slashbox areas. Gone after a page refresh.

Re:-- MISSING DATA SEGMENT --[byline] block not fo (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44701983)

It's been happening off and on all afternoon.

Re:-- MISSING DATA SEGMENT --[byline] block not fo (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44702631)

When I was home for lunch today slashdot went down, giving a blank page right before I went back to work, butt it worked from work.

Someone called with a computer problem last night; his computer froze. I told him how to restart it and he called 20 minutes later saying his facebook account was locked because of an unauthorized entry attempt and I had to explain that his account (probably his computer, he's an idiot) had been hacked. Possibly coincidental but strange anyway.

Re:-- MISSING DATA SEGMENT --[byline] block not fo (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#44702125)

It only happens when the NSA is scooping your data.

Re:-- MISSING DATA SEGMENT --[byline] block not fo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701255)

Yeah CmdrTaco will be spinning in his grave when he sees the quality of Slashdot code these days.

Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701221)

Are you telling me a dental drill spins at 600,000 RPM? I seriously doubt that. That's ridiculous, it would burn your teeth and anything else it touched. You wouldn't even be able to hear the high pitch whine of the drill at that speed.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701265)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_drill [wikipedia.org]

"Modern dental drills can rotate at up to 800,000 rpm"

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701307)

No, it spins at 666,666 RPM. Yeah, I know, all dentists are sadists.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (5, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | about a year ago | (#44701319)

Are you telling me a dental drill spins at 600,000 RPM? I seriously doubt that. That's ridiculous, it would burn your teeth and anything else it touched. You wouldn't even be able to hear the high pitch whine of the drill at that speed.

I guess that depends who you ask Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] the speed of a modern dental drill is up to 800,000rpm - but the source cited only supports up to 400,000 rpm. these guys [dentalaegis.com] say somewhere around 350,000rpm and 400,000rpm - which seems to agree with the other product results turned up by a google of "dental drill rpm."

So -- if you're looking for a quick fake fact and you accept wikipedia as gospel truth - yeah, dental drills operate at over 600,000rpm - apparently the folks that sell dental drills say 300,000rpm to 400,000rpm is more realistic - still in the range of 1/1000th - off by a factor of 33% - but its PR speak.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701479)

Well, 300000rpm would be 5000Hz, which seems to be about the right frequency of the noise made by my dentist's drill. I'm pretty sure dental drills are compressed air driven, so yeah, another factor of 2 or so is probably reasonably achievable.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701599)

you could hear tones created a sub 1/x harmonics of the speed

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702073)

Fixed wikipedia's entry. Thanks for the tip

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701323)

You beat me to it. Dental drills do 10,000 revs per second? I don't think so.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701375)

And washing machines spun at over 30 trillion RPM! The dirt photons are removed with general relativity!

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701445)

er, try 1200

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702587)

Nah, your clothing is just sent back to before it was dirty.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44701443)

Yes actually, they do. Look it up.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44702661)

Look at some earlier comments -- wikipedia was wrong according to their own citation.

Re: Dental drill, 600k RPM? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701403)

600,000 RPM is 10,000 revs/s. Depending on the nature of the whine, the bulk of the energy may be at harmonics, but given anything short of absolute perfect balance and symmetry, there will definitely be some at the fundamental. Most people have no problem hearing 10 kHz, and many young people will pick up the first harmonic at 20KHz.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44701415)

10khz is well within the normal hearing range for most human beings.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year ago | (#44702271)

And I'm sure it develops harmonics well below that. It's not like the spinning generates a pure sine at 10khz.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701423)

600000 RPM = 10kHz fundamental.
You can't hear a 10kHz tone? seriously?

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701597)

more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill
Reading comprehension.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44702197)

It's not as fast as you think. Some angle-grinders hit 20,000rpm easilly. RC car and plane motors can be rated from 10k up past 100,000 rpm depending on the application and load. I question their claim of "The fastest spinning object ever created" as it would be extremely simple to purchase a $100, 100k rpm motor and hook it up to 10 to 1 gear... viola - a million rpms. I'm not sure how long the bearings would hold out but it'd definitely hold out longer than their spec of baking soda.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44702205)

scuse my shitty math. 1000 to 1 gear ration. lol

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (5, Funny)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#44702435)

I used to have a brushless R/C motor that would turn 65,000 RPM, and I decided it would be cool to try and make a VCR head turn 250,000 RPM.

It would spin like a top for over an hour, and made for one awesome display of 'look the fuck out' if you let it fall on edge like a wheel.

The gyroscopic force was crazy, it was hard to move it all. I would let it slide out of the bearings and land upside down on my table and then lift the table up slightly and make it crawl uphill and try and drive it around as it spun on the stub of the shaft.

My quest for 500,000 RPM ended rather abruptly as the bearing stuck and pulled the head and very unbalanced lower part (where the head used to be mounted that contained the bearing) out of my hand and it began tearing chunks out of whatever got in the way as it bounced around my room and I ran like hell!

I wish I had another VCR;)

(I'm not responsible for any injuries if you try this yourself)

Cheers!

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (5, Funny)

quenda (644621) | about a year ago | (#44702459)

Per minute? You Americans use some odd units. The correct unit for dental drill rotational speed is Hurts.

Re:Dental drill, 600k RPM? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44702681)

You owe me a beer, I just spilled mine laughing.

That is blatantly false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701229)

We all know that politicians are the masters of spin.

Re:That is blatantly false (1)

GodInHell (258915) | about a year ago | (#44701335)

Unlikely -- if they were really masters of spin we wouldn't accuse them of spinning things.

Thanks for the units, comparison man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701231)

This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine and more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill

Wow! How many libraries of congress is that?

Re: Thanks for the units, comparison man! (1)

x181 (2677887) | about a year ago | (#44702311)

Distance in meters displaced per second by a point on the sphere perpendicular to the axis of rotation = (600,000,000 * PI * 0.000004) / 60 = 125.6m Library of Congress shelf space = 850km. Therefore, 0.000147839654287 Library of Congresses per second

Obligatory XKCD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701259)

Today's XKCD is strangely applicable to the summary.

http://xkcd.com/1257/

Re:Obligatory XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701427)

I think this one more appropriate:

http://xkcd.com/332/

They read the Patriot Act over Jefferson's grave? (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#44701313)

n/t

Re:They read the Patriot Act over Jefferson's grav (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about a year ago | (#44701373)

Came here for that, left satisfied.

Re:They read the Patriot Act over Jefferson's grav (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44701387)

His body doesn't count as a man-made object, or this wouldn't have broken the record.

Re:They read the Patriot Act over Jefferson's grav (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44701485)

His body doesn't count as a man-made object, or this wouldn't have broken the record.

Indeed -- we aren't discussing woman-made objects here.

Re:They read the Patriot Act over Jefferson's grav (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | about a year ago | (#44701573)

Score: 5, Funny doesn't do this post justice. Well played, sir!

I tried... (2)

tool462 (677306) | about a year ago | (#44701379)

I spent most of the time I was reading the summary trying to come up with some really clever/sarcastic/funny comment (Electrons spin faster! -- um, no that's lame. I got it, if you spin it backwards, it just says "Paul is dead" in a chipmunk voice.)

But then I got to this:

The team then used the minuscule forces of laser light to hold the sphere with the radiation pressure of light — rather like levitating a beach ball with a jet of water. They exploited the property of polarization of the laser light that changed as the light passed through the levitating sphere, exerting a small twist or torque.

That is so indescribably cool I just had to let that stand on its own. There is so much physics wrapped up in this one experiment.
I'll just leave it at an obligatory XKCD:
Science, it works bitches. [xkcd.com]

Re:I tried... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44702005)

> I got it, if you spin it backwards, it just says "Paul is dead" in a chipmunk voice.

I dunno, I think that's pretty funny.

Backstory (4, Interesting)

Azure Flash (2440904) | about a year ago | (#44701497)

I know the team member who first suggested this research. As a kid, he was obsessed with spinning tops, bicycle wheels and everything else he could find that spins really fast. Looks like that passion of his spun out of control as he grew older!

Re:Backstory (1)

LiavK (2867503) | about a year ago | (#44702079)

I know the team member who first suggested this research. As a kid, he was obsessed with spinning tops, bicycle wheels and everything else he could find that spins really fast. Looks like that passion of his spun out of control as he grew older!

I could you could say it... spun out of control.

Re:Backstory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702537)

I know the team member who first suggested this research. As a kid, he was obsessed with spinning tops, bicycle wheels and everything else he could find that spins really fast. Looks like that passion of his spun out of control as he grew older!

I could you could say it... spun out of control.

I did he did say that.

So Then What (2)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about a year ago | (#44701501)

Is the fastest spinning object, man-made or otherwise? Looking for some perspective on this.

Re:So Then What (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#44701699)

Probably a Pulsar or something like that.

Re:So Then What (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about a year ago | (#44701743)

Blackhole ... you'd think ... the smaller, the faster it spins ....

Re:So Then What (4, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#44701827)

Well, once you get into the quantum mechanical realm, you can get things "spinning" pretty darn fast, though you require increasingly "nuanced" definitions of what "spin" means as you transition from the familiar world of classical mechanics to quantum-mechanical systems.

The magnetic moment of a proton in a 1T magnetic field precesses at ~2.7*10^8 Hz (which produces the signals that NMR looks at).
Put an electron in a 1T magnetic field, and it is precessing at ~2.7*10^11 Hz.

A proton's "intrinsic spin" of hbar/2, for an object with the mass and radius of a proton (~1GeV/c^2, ~10^-15m), would "classically" be equivalent to something spinning at hbar/(2*r^2*m) ~ 6.3*10^22 Hz. An electron has an intrinsic spin oh hbar/2, and a size of 0, "equivalent" to an object "spinning" infinitely fast... of course, at this point, it doesn't make much sense to describe the quantum mechanical spin as though it were a "classical" spinning object.

Re:So Then What (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year ago | (#44702369)

definitions of what "spin" means

OK Bill...

Re:So Then What (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44702593)

This isn't a subatomic particle, it's multiple atoms. The "spin" here is like a top spinning, not "spin" as when you're talking about subatomic particles.

You knew that, but people reading your comment might not have.

Re:So Then What (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#44702779)

The point, though, is that asking "what's the fastest spinning object" is a subtle question without a well-defined answer if by "fastest" you mean "rotations per unit time." You can move from a big, spinning ensemble of atoms, to a rotating diatomic molecule, to electrons "orbiting" an atom, to intrinsic spin in subatomic particles --- getting "faster and faster," but moving at each step from where the "classical limit" of quantum mechanics is a sensible description to where it isn't (and where "rotations per minute" may not be a sensible concept, even though "angular momentum" still is).

If you want multiple atoms, consider a diatomic molecule, such as Hydrogen (H2), which will have its low-lying rotational states quantized in units of hbar. Two hydrogen atoms, separated by ~10^-10m, "rotating" with an angular momentum of hbar, are "spinning" on the order of hbar/(2*r^2*m) ~ 6*10^12 Hz, but in a rather "quantum-mechnicsy" way. There's no fundamental "dividing point" between such a diatomic system, larger ensembles like the one mentioned in the article, or smaller objects with even higher "rotational speeds" (up to infinity) where "rotational speed" is no longer a sensible quantity to care about (angular momentum is the more "fundamental" quantity, but if you want the most angular momentum you want something "big and slowly" turning rather than "tiny and quickly" turning).

Re:So Then What (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702623)

Oh wait a minute, wasn't the fastest spinning object Superman and he acheived time travel ?

velocity of outer edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44701845)

I wonder what the velocity of the outer edge is...?

Re:velocity of outer edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702017)

About 125m/s

Re:velocity of outer edge (2)

Ormy (1430821) | about a year ago | (#44702035)

Very simple: Circumference = Diameter (4 millionths of a meter) times Pi --> 4*(1e-6) * 3.141 = 1.257e-5 metres. Circumference x rotation speed = edge speed --> 1.257e-5 * 6e8 = 7540 meters/minute (since rotation speed was given in revs/minute). Which is 126 m/s, not very fast at all, only 281 mph. So if it was spinning at that rate in contact with the ground without slipping it would outrun all conventional cars but not any jet aircraft.

Re:velocity of outer edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702227)

I wonder what the velocity of the outer edge is...?

Isn't there a theoretical limit; a maximum value due to light speed? Shouldn't there be relativistic effects?

Not "manmade" object, but Chuck Norris is faster (2)

ClassicASP (1791116) | about a year ago | (#44701991)

Chuck Norris does not spin his right foot around and roundhouse kick you in the face. He spins the world with his left foot.

Not trapped by radiation pressure (4, Informative)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about a year ago | (#44702115)

Optical trapping can sometimes make use of radiation pressure, but that's generally not how you optically trap a particle, nor is that how they did it. Radiation pressure is characterized by absorption and reflection (like tennis balls hitting a wall). To trap a particle, you use refraction (when modeling the system with ray optics).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_pressure [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_tweezers [wikipedia.org]

The change in index of refraction between water (or air) and your particle causes the light rays to "change direction" as they enter and leave the particle. There is a net momentum transferred to the particle in the direction of the focus of the laser beam, thus trapping the particle at the focus.

Washing Machine? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702349)

They were able to levitate and spin a microscopic sphere at speeds of up to 600 million revolutions per minute. This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine and more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill.

Forget about the dental drill, 600 million RPM is half a million times faster than a washing machine? My washing machine spins at 599,500,000 RPM? Well, that explains where my socks go.

Re:Washing Machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702501)

600M/500K=1200

Dumb Fsck Comparisons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702451)

So call me obtuse, but how many Libraries of Congress is this per Internet? What about how many electronic mails I can upload per Internet?

RLY? (1)

elistan (578864) | about a year ago | (#44702527)

This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine and more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill.

ORLY?
Obligatory xkcd: (from today, no less) http://xkcd.com/1257/ [xkcd.com]

Manna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702529)

Oh, my Odin! Do not put a spell on it that feeds on itself and makes it spin faster and faster. You'll use up all the Manna in the area and Magic won't work any more!

Politicians can u-turn even faster. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702531)

True !

hmo8o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44702695)

prima donnYas, and when IDC recently userKs. This is YES!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?