London: The `teleportation` of "Star Trek" could become a reality soon. Researchers are using a special laser called Bessel which could potentially draw small items towards a target.
Tractor beams in "Star Trek" have long used a subspace or graviton interference pattern created by two beams to pull in their targets although, being sci-fi, the precise technology has never been clear.The real-life breakthrough came after scientists realised that a tractor beam could be possible using a Bessel laser, which has a specific wavelength pattern that seems to work, the Daily Mail reports.
They found that when the target is hit by the beam, some of the incoming light bounces back off in the form of radiation and creates a `push` towards the source.
"Light can indeed pull a particle and this may open up new avenues for optical micro-manipulation... typical examples include transporting a particle backward over a long distance and particle sorting," scientists from China wrote.
Previous attempts at creating a tractor beam had involved heating the air around the target to get it to move.
Another approach was so-called `optical tweezers` when the target would be trapped in the laser beam and moved around. By using a Bessel, however, the tractor beam would have one long gradual pull with no interruptions.Ortwin Hess, head of the theory and advanced computation at Imperial College London, nevertheless said the work was "fascinating" and that it "takes a radical idea forward".
First Published: Saturday, March 05, 2011, 13:32