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Home > News > Company News > Purdue creates fastest-ever ro.....

Purdue creates fastest-ever rotor

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2018-07-23
Researchers have created the fastest man-made rotor in the world which revolves more than 60 billion times a minute – more than 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill.

“This study has many applications, including material science,” says Purdue’s  Tongcang Li, “we can study the extreme conditions different materials can survive in.”

Li’s team synthesised a tiny dumbbell from silica and levitated it in high vacuum using a laser. The laser can work in a straight line or in a circle – when it’s linear, the dumbbell vibrates, and when it’s circular, the dumbbell spins.

A spinning dumbbell functions as a rotor, and a vibrating dumbbell functions like an instrument for measuring tiny forces and torques, known as a torsion balance. These devices were used to discover things like the gravitational constant and density of Earth, but Li hopes that as they become more advanced, they’ll be able to study things like quantum mechanics and the properties of vacuum. Watch a video to see how it happens:

A nanodumbbell levitated by an optical tweezer in vacuum can vibrate or spin, depending on the polarization of the incoming laser.

“People say that there is nothing in vacuum, but in physics, we know it’s not really empty,” Li said. “There are a lot of virtual particles which may stay for a short time and then disappear. We want to figure out what’s really going on there, and that’s why we want to make the most sensitive torsion balance.”

By observing this tiny dumbbell spin faster than anything before it, Li’s team may also be able to learn things about vacuum friction and gravity. Understanding these mechanisms is an essential goal for the modern generation of physics, Li said.

Researchers from Purdue, Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter in Beijing also contributed to this work. The first author of this work is Jonghoon Ahn, a graduate student in Li’s research group. Li’s research was funded by the National Science Foundation and Office of Naval Research.