Real-life tractor beam developed at NYU

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2012-10-28

Physicists at New York University have demonstrated a micro-tractor beam capable of pushing and pulling molecules.

The system by David B. Ruffner and David G. Grier consists of a set of superimposed Bessel beams—beams which do not spread and are capable of self healing after partial obstruction—which is able to push and pull tiny objects along its length.

According to the project's abstract: "These optical conveyors have periodic intensity variations along their axes that act as highly effective optical traps for micrometer-scale objects."

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