May 23, 2017 05:52 AM EDT
Scientists have recently discovered that the wavelike properties of the quantum matter might have properties similar to futuristic movies. It is a new kind of tractor beam that could use a beam of particles to tug in atoms or molecules.
Tractor Beams Created By Light Or Sound Waves
In the past, scientists created the tractor beams with the use of light or sound waves. These tractor beams could pull in small particles a few millimeters or centimeters from its original spot. Physicist David Grier said that the idea of creating this matter waves is interesting, Science News reported.
Sound or light waves can tug in small particles under carefully controlled conditions. There are also other types of beams that have waves that can scatter forward off of a particle. It pushes the particle back toward the source of beam, which is because of the law of conservation of momentum.
Matter Waves Used For Creating Tractor Beam
Physicist Andrey Novitsky revealed that they used the same reasoning for creating a tractor beam. Instead of using light or sound for it, they used the elusive matter waves.
Particles in quantum mechanics would move like waves, which will spread out so that it will not have any definite position at all. Quantum waves are represented here as the probability that a particle will be found in a particular spot if its location is measured. Novitsky's team made some theoretical calculations to show that such matter waves could produce a pulling effect.
Novitsky explained that the matter wave tractor beams can be made with beams of electrons. These beams will provide new ways of manipulating matter on small scales. In the near future, scientists will be able to use the tractor beams to separate mixtures of atom or ions.
Physicists Plan To Create Matter Wave Tractor Beam
Physicist Alexey Gorlach and his team are trying to make the matter wave tractor beam in the future, but the study is purely theoretical, for now. They also said that the completely different interpretation of quantum mechanics does not harm the pulling force phenomenon. Their calculations suggest that these waves could be harnessed to pull physical nanoparticles, Cosmos Magazine reported.
Check out the Portable Acoustic Tractor Beam video below: