Star Wars Like Tractor Beams Created By Scientists

Posted: Oct 27 2015, 9:54pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 28 2015, 10:05pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Star Wars Like Tractor Beams Created by Scientists
Courtesy Stuart Robinson Sussex University

The new technology uses high frequency sound waves to pull and rotate objects.

Scientists have found a way to float and rotate objects by using high frequency sound waves.

It may appear something out of a science fiction movie but scientists have just been able to achieve it.

The new ‘Star Wars’ inspired technology uses acoustic tractor beams to levitate small objects without touching or having any physical contact.

It has been long known that two sounds waves of the same frequency can produce that much force which can hold and move an object. It requires two sound waves of the same frequency emitting from two opposite directions. The new technology can rotate objects even with a single-sided emitter.

“All previous levitators had to surround the particle with acoustic elements, which was cumbersome for some kind of manipulations,” said study leader Asier Marzo from Public University of Navarre in Spain. “Our technique, however, only requires sound waves from one side. It’s like a laser - you can levitate particles, but with a single beam.”

To develop this technology, researchers created a series of transducers or miniature loudspeakers to generate interference pattern or high-pitched and high-intensity sound waves. These transducers emit sound waves in different frequencies which create acoustic holograms and eventually a force field to hold object in space and manipulate it in any way.

The technology can be used in a variety of fields ranging from medicine to space exploration. By manipulating the frequency of sound waves, the overall power of the system can be increased which will allow it to move heavier objects over longer distances.

“The levitation of particles by one-sided transducers is an amazing result that opens new possibilities for acoustic levitation technology,” Said Marco Aurélio Brizzotti Andrade, an assistant professor of physics at the University of São Paulo.

“Single-beam levitation could manipulate particles inside our body for applications in targeted drug delivery or acoustically controlled micro-machines that do not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging.”

Currently, the acoustic holograms can only be used to manipulate tiny balls but the team of researchers is hoping to collaborate with ultrasound specialist to refine it and expand its use on a wider scale.

The study was published in Nature.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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