One of the big drawbacks for nanotechnology is that there are certain mechanical processes that you have to replicate at a submicroscopic level for you to create functional machines. While it’s fairly straightforward to pass electronic charges and do some other operations, one of the biggest hurdles is to spin objects. Why is this a big deal? Micromotors and Microgyros have spinning objects so if you are going to completely reduce and miniaturize complete machines then their moving parts need to be miniaturized as well. Spinning portions definitely pose a serious headache especially if you’re dealing with very submicroscopic scales in nanotechnology. Thankfully, it looks like this significant hurdle has been fixed through the work of scientists at The University of St. Andrews in Scottland. Using a calcium carbonate microscopic sphere, the scientists were able to make it spin six hundred revolutions per minute. If you want to wrap your mind on how fast this is, think about your standard washing machine and how fast it spins during the top spin cycle multiply that by five hundred thousand times.
If you don’t wash your clothes and you’re not much of a washing machine person, next time you start your car, imagine how fast your engine turns over multiply that by three hundred thousand times. That’s huge since we’re talking about six hundred million revolutions per minute. This can only be good news for nano engines and nano machines because you need engines and processes that turn over that quickly to get work done at that submicroscopic scale. How exactly were they able to do this? First, they needed to create a very very small sphere which is four millionths of a meter in size. Next, they were able to have it spin so fast because they contained the sphere within a vacuum. When there’s no vacuum, there’s no fiction. When there’s no fiction, things can move really quickly. In terms of giving these spheres the push they need to rotate that fast, they used microscopic pulses of laser light. All in all, this is a very exciting development and we are sure that other scientists that are deeply involved in nanotechnology can glean certain techniques and processes from this achievement to help them with their micro machines.