Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Levitating Objects by Light

California Institute of Technology Research


Source:  Image from California Institute of Technology

Spacecrafts Powered and Accelerated Only by Light
Researchers at Caltech have innovated a way to levitate and propel objects using only light.  They've done it by creating specific nanopatterns on the surface of the objects.  The Caltech team is able to do this with objects of different shapes and sizes using specially designed materials and nanopatterns.

Application:  Future Spacecraft
This work is theoretical.  But it moves research forward on designing a spacecraft powered and accelerated only by light.   The goal is to develop such a space vehicle to go beyond our solar system within twenty years.  The Caltech researchers have already starting testing out the principles of their system for that.

Nanopatterned Objects
The key to this breakthrough innovation is the specific patterns put on the object to interact with light.  The researchers say it works on large and small objects.  They add the light source can be millions of miles away.

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