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Researchers from the Australian National University have announced that they have built a device that can move small particles a meter and a half using only the power of light.
Physicists have been able to manipulate tiny particles over miniscule distances by using lasers for years. Optical tweezers that can move particles a few millimeters are common.
Andrei Rhode, a researcher involved with the project, said that existing optical tweezers are able to move particles the size of a bacterium a few millimeters in a liquid. Their new technique can move objects one hundred times that size over a distance of a meter or more.
The science behind optical tweezers won’t work in the vacuum of space, but we’re gettin’ there. 1 meter at a time.