Laser kicks molecules into fastest ever spin

By Andrew Grant, 14:15 PM April 16, 2014

The powerful kick of a laser has spun molecules faster than they’ve ever been spun before: 10 trillion rotations per second, or 600 trillion RPM. A car with tires turning at that spin rate would travel the distance to the nearest star in half an hour. “There’s definitely nothing macroscopic that can spin that fast,” says Valery Milner, a molecular physicist at the University of British Columbia who led the study published March 19 in Physical Review Letters.

The feat required a precisely sculp...

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