Scientists at the University of Maryland at College Park have managed to clock a floating piece of graphene at an unbelievable 60 million rpm, far faster than any other macroscopic object yet measured. Even crazier: Given graphene's strength, one of the scientists says that may only be a thousandth of its possible top speed.
Graphene is a derivation of graphite, which in turn comes from carbon. Basically, graphite comes from stacked sheets of carbon, and graphene is made of one-atom-thick separated graphite sheets, which form a honeycomb crystal structure. Graphene has some pretty incredible properties: It conducts electricity better than any other known material at room temperature and exhibits a startling amount of strength, given its 2D structure. A bit of graphene the same thickness as plastic wrap would require 2.5 tons of force to puncture it.
To set the spinning speed record, scientist Bruce Kane took charged flakes of graphene, only a micrometer wide, and sprayed them into a vacuum chamber, where they were trapped in mid-air by electric fields. Explains New Scientist:
Kane then set them spinning using a light beam that is circularly polarised, meaning it passes its momentum to objects in its path. As a result, the flakes started spinning at 60 million rotations per minute, faster than any other macroscopic object.
It's not really clear that there are any particular uses for this discovery, but graphene has shown nothing but promise so far, so further research on its spin speed could well lead to scientists stumbling onto something great.
Can millions of these be assembled into some kind of laser powered rotor?
can this be used to create nano motors.
I really love this stuff, really.
I'm sorry, but did someone really say the flakes were "mid-air" while inside a vacuum chamber?
@Wait4it...hahaha! I didn't even catch that. thats some good stuff.
Can millions of these be assembled into tiny little fans...billions of fans... to blow hot air around and reduce global worming?
Better yet, solar power food processor that pulverizes food on the atomic level!
I don't know why, but I'm really excited about this!
"Boy, Captain America over here! "Best of the best of the best, sir!" "With honors." Yeah, he's just really excited and he has no clue why we're here. "(c)
Is it global worming or global warming? Ether way, sound like we've got a problem here!
Maybe he is worried about millions of worms and he wants to blow them off the earth?
^Damn you hooked on phonics!
interesting.... wonder what applications can be used with this spnning after they found that carbon anano-tubes can generate electricy when heated. Spinning, heat, electricity.... zomg so many things yu can do with those. make a motor when it heats up cause its spinning faster to create even more energy!!!
I'm more interested in its electrical conductivity and strength. I think the spinning experiment was conducted to showcase the strength of the product. I'm looking forward to some great applications.