Rapidly rotating graphene is fastest-spinning macroscopic object ever

Sep 30, 2010 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Made of a single sheet of carbon atoms, graphene can be spun at the fastest rate of any known macroscopic object. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(PhysOrg.com) -- At 60 million rotations per minute, a two-dimensional sheet of graphene has become the fastest-spinning trapped macroscopic object ever. Graphene is known for its large strength, and it's this strength that enables the material to not be pulled apart into pieces when spun at such a high rate.

Physicist Bruce Kane of the University of Maryland in College Park has published his study on the spinning in a recent issue of Physical Review B. His main ambition was to measure and modify graphene by suspending micrometer-sized flakes of the material in an . As electric fields trapped and suspended the charged graphene flakes, Kane set up a circularly polarized light beam to transfer a large amount of to the flakes, causing them to spin at a very high rotation frequency.

“This high rotation frequency, facilitated by the ability of graphene to withstand centrifugal tension during rotation, is, to the author's knowledge, the largest ever measured for a macroscopic trapped object,” Kane wrote in a paper posted at arXiv.org.

Kane also explained that the graphene flakes are spinning at only one-thousandth of their theoretical maximum rate, which is calculated based on graphene's estimated strength. Modifying the experimental set-up could enable the graphene to be spun even faster.

As Kane explained in his study, graphene, which was discovered in 2004, is the first truly two-dimensional system, meaning that its electronic, mechanical, and are all determined by the structure of a single sheet of . Since placing graphene on a substrate can interfere with measuring its properties, this new method of levitating and spinning graphene could allow researchers to investigate, grow, and manipulate sheets of graphene with greater ease.

Explore further: Demystifying nanocrystal solar cells

More information: Bruce Kane. "Levitated spinning graphene flakes in an electric quadrupole ion trap." Phys. Rev. B 82, 115441 (2010). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevB.82.115441 . "Levitated Spinning Graphene." arXiv:1006.3774v1
via: Popular Science

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User comments : 9

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5 / 5 (1) Sep 30, 2010
That would make an interesting cutting blade...
not rated yet Oct 01, 2010
Why did Bruce do this?
not rated yet Oct 01, 2010
Any thoughts as to the magnetic properties of a charged piece of grpahene spinning as such incredible rates?
not rated yet Oct 01, 2010
How big would the graphene piece have to be and how fast would it have to spin in order to see relativistic effects?, one of the predictions of relativity is that if you spin a disk fast enough, it'll start to curve so the outer rim won't exceed the speed of light.
not rated yet Oct 01, 2010
I wonder how much energy could be stored that way.
not rated yet Oct 01, 2010
This would seem to be the path to constructing very interesting configurations of very high molecular energy. Just imagine a phonon induced weak force generator based on pre-stressed crystal structures. Just think of a piezoelectric battery based on pre-stressed quartz made in this fashion.
not rated yet Oct 02, 2010
Energy storage!? Um, no. Not only dangerous if scaled up, but certainty not portable. What effect that much angular momentum would have boggles the mind.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2010
Funny how an object of micrometer size is called macroscopic.
Which axis was it rotating around?
not rated yet Oct 07, 2010
Did he count these rpms? or hook it up to an odometer? =P

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