In Star Trek, a tractor beam was used to tow spaceships and move objects. The video clip with this article, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," features Wesley Crusher’s portable and ship-sized tractor beams. For years, science and technology have labored to “make it so.” In 2013, they succeeded.
Scientists from St. Andrews University in Scotland and Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in Czech Republic have created a tractor beam of sorts – a beam of light that attracts objects at a microscopic level.
The research team, led by Dr. Tomas Cizmar, a Research Fellow at the University's School of Medicine, with Dr. Oto Brzobohaty and Professor Pavel Zemanek, discovered a technique that involves negative force acting on minuscule particles, generating a special optical field that reverses the radiant pressure of light. In Star Trek, tractor beams pulled spaceships and other objects closer to the focal point of the light source.
Dr. Cizmar says that even though their success has been on a microscopic level and it is a few years away from practical use, the technology has huge potential for medical research.
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