Researchers Create Real Tractor Beams

With as many Sci-Fi movies we've watched over the years, tractor beams weren't necessarily something we thought would be on the top of some researcher's list to make real in our world. Especially considering if we've got them, we can be sure the aliens do, too. Anyway, thanks to some researchers down under, we can now say that rudimentary (as if that's even possible) tractor beams exist.

Researchers out of the Australian National University have created a device, working in conjunction with other necessary devices, that can literally move small particles with light. And only light. The way it works, is by shining a hollow laser beam around some tiny glass particles. The researchers heat the air around the particles, and therefore cause the dark center of the beam to remain cool. The result is that the particles within drift to the hotter rim (into the laser beam itself), the force of the fast-moving particles within the beam will cause the other drifting particles to move back into the middle.

As of right now, it isn't powerful enough to move anything other than some particles, but it's a good first step. And, let's face it. If you're a researcher, and you can stand up in a room and say that you've created a real tractor beam, that's pretty amazing.

[via DVICE]