Star Trek’s ‘tractor’ beam created in miniature by researchers
Within the experimental system, light beam is converted into a pulling device, that gathers micro-objects just like when using a chain.
A team of scientists from Scotland and the Czech Republic has created a real-life “tractor” beam, as featured in the Star Trek movies, which for the first time allows a beam of light to attract objects.
Although light manipulation techniques have existed since the 1970s, this is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards the light source, albeit at a microscopic level.
Researchers from the University of St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic have found a way to generate a special optical field that efficiently reverses radiation pressure of light.
The new technique could lead to more efficient medical testing, such as in the examination of blood samples.
In the US science fiction show, a tractor beam was a method of using a beam of light which could pull space-ships and other large objects towards the source of the light.