Attractive beams make intuitive sense. Matter and energy interact with each other in countless ways throughout the Universe. Magnetism and gravity are natural forces that can bring things together, so there is some kind of precedent.
But designing a real attractor beam is something different.
Tractor beam is a device that can move an object over a certain distance. The idea comes from a 1931 science fiction story. SpaceHounds of IPC:
If science fiction had anything to say about it, attractor rays would already be commonplace, and we could thank you. Star wars and Star wars for their reproduction.
However, attractive rays are already present, although their reach is only microscopic.
Microscopic attractive beams are used in devices called optical tweezers. Optical tweezers use lasers to move microscopic objects like atoms and nanoparticles. They are used in biology, nanotechnology, and medicine.
These attractive rays work on microscopic objects, but are not strong enough to attract larger macroscopic objects.
Now a research team has successfully demonstrated a macroscopic attractor beam. They published the article describing their work in the journal. Optical Express. its title”Macroscopic laser extraction based on the Knudsen force in rare gas,” and lead author Lei Wang of QingDao University of Science and Technology in China.
“In previous studies, the pulling force of light was too small to attract a macroscopic object.” I said wang.
“With our new approach, the light pulling force has a much larger amplitude. In fact, it’s three times greater than the light pressure used to move a solar sail, which uses the momentum of the photons to exert a small thrust force.”
This macroscopic attractor only works under certain laboratory conditions, so it is a demonstration, not a practical improvement. At least not yet.
First of all, it works on purpose-built stuff: macroscopic graphene-SiO2 composite objects that researchers create for experiments.
Second, it operates in a diluted gas environment, which has a much lower pressure than Earth’s atmosphere. Although this limits their activity on Earth, not every earth has as much atmospheric pressure as our planet.
“Our technique provides a non-contact, long-distance towing approach that can be useful for a variety of scientific experiments.” I said wang.
“The diluted gas medium we used to demonstrate the technique is similar to the one found on it. Anthem. Therefore, it may one day have the potential to manipulate vehicles or aircraft on Mars.”
Their device works on the principle of gas heating. A laser heats composite objects, but one side is hotter than the other. The gas molecules in the back take more energy, which attracts the object. Combined with the low pressure in the diluted gas environment, the object moves.
Researchers have built a torsion – or rotation – pendulum device made from graphene-SiOs.2 composite structure to demonstrate the laser drawing phenomenon. This show made it visible to the naked eye. They used another device to measure the effect.
“We found that the pulling force is three times greater than the light pressure.” I said wang. “Furthermore, the laser pull is repeatable and the force can be adjusted by varying the laser power.”
Other researchers have tow beams with mixed results in recent years. NASA was interested in pursuing the idea of using attractive beams to collect samples with the MSL Curiosity surface rover. One of Curiosity’s tools is ChemCam.
It contains a laser that vaporizes the rock or regolith and then a microimager to measure its components spectroscopically. But NASA wondered if a tractor beam could pull tiny particles from the vaporized sample into the rover for a more complete study.
AND NASA NIAC presentation From 2010 he said: “If Tractor Beam Technology is incorporated into a ‘ChemCam2’ to attract dust and plasma particles, attractive beams can add a host of additional science capabilities:
- laser desorption ion spectroscopy
- mass spectrometers
- RAMAN spectroscopy
- X-Ray Fluorescent”
The same presentation said that attractive rays could be used to collect particles from comet tails, ice clouds on Enceladus, and even clouds in Earth’s atmosphere or other atmospheres.
This never happened, but it shows how compelling the idea is.
This new research produced interesting results, although not close to a real practical application. There’s a lot of work and engineering needed before we get close to practicality.
First, there must be a well-understood theoretical basis explaining how the effect works on objects of different sizes and shapes, and lasers of different powers in different atmospheres.
The researchers know this, of course, but point out that it’s still an effective demonstration of feasibility.
“Our work demonstrates that flexible light manipulation of a macroscopic object is possible when the interactions between light, object, and environment are carefully controlled.” I said wang.
“It also demonstrates the complexity of laser-matter interactions and that many phenomena are far from being understood at both the macro and micro scales.”
The critical part is that this work moves attractive beams from the microscopic to the macroscopic. This is an important threshold that is difficult to cross.
“This work expands the scope of optical attractor from microscale to macroscale, which has great potential in macroscale optical manipulations,” the authors wrote. to write according to their results.
Spacecraft may one day use attractor beams, but they’re unlikely to look like they did in science fiction. Star wars, Star warsand SSpeed of IPC all have attractive beams in war and conflict.
But in reality, they can turn into valuable scientific tools.
This article was originally published by Universe Today. To read original article.
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