Australian Scientists Create Tractor Beams
A popular science fiction technology is a reality now.
Tractor beams, popularised in sci-fi movies as light rays that can pull in spaceships, are a reality now. Scientists at Australian National University have created a device that uses only light to move particles over a small distance.
The device works by shining a hollow laser beam around tiny glass particles. The air surrounding the particle heats up, while the dark center of the beam stays cool. When the particle starts to drift out of the middle and into the bright laser beam, the force of heated air molecules bouncing around and hitting the particle’s surface is enough to nudge it back to the center.