Researchers at Boston University working with collaborators in Germany, France and Korea have developed a nanoscale torsion resonator that measures miniscule amounts of twisting or torque in a metallic nanowire. This device, the size of a speck of dust, might enable measurements of the untwisting of DNA and have applications in spintronics, fundamental physics, chemistry and biology.

Spin-induced torque is central to understanding experiments, from the measurement of angular momentum of photons to the measurement of the gyromagnetic factor of metals and a very miniaturized – about 6 microns -- version of a gyroscope that measures the torques produced by electrons changing their spin states. It can be used to uncover new spin-dependent fundamental forces in particle physics, according to Raj Mohanty, Boston University Associate Professor of Physics.

"This is perhaps the most sensitive torque measurement every reported," said Mohanty. "The size of the torque measured by this experiment is smaller than the typical torque produced by the untwisting of a doubly-stranded DNA."

Read more here (Eurekalert)