Researchers make world record book

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Three researchers at the University have made the pages of the Guinness Book of  World Records for creating the fastest spinning man-made object ever.

The scientists, Professor Kishan Dholakia, Dr Yoshihiko Arita and Dr Michael Mazilu of the School of Physics and Astronomy, achieved the feat in 2013 though it has only just been verified by Guinness World Records. Through the use of optical tweezers, they managed to make the object in question – a small sphere made from calcium carbonate – spin at a rate of 600 million revolutions per minute. That is 200,000 times faster than the average rotation of a piston aircraft engine.

The sphere was placed inside a vacuum and as light passed through it, the change in polarisation created a force which caused the sphere to spin.

The team are leading experts in light technology who look at the interaction of light and matter and the boundary between classical physics and quantum physics. Professor Dholakia said: “This has been an exciting team effort to realise this world record. The result is a major breakthrough in our physics understanding of the light-matter interaction. We are planning new advances and even hope to challenge our own record in the near future.”

The researches appear in the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records which is available for purchase now.

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