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Beam me up breakthrough

india Updated: Sep 10, 2010 00:15 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

The catch-phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" of the iconic

Star Trek

serial could be close to reality with scientists successfully teleporting objects from one place to another with the help of energy rays.



A team of scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra, using tractor beams - rays that can move objects - have managed to shift tiny particles up to 59 inches from one spot to another.



Researcher Andrei Rhode said his team's technique can move objects 100 times bigger over a distance of almost five feet, reports the

Daily Mail.



The method involves shining a hollow laser beam around tiny glass particles which heats up the air around them, but the centre of the beam which strikes the particles stays cool resulting in their being drawn towards the beam's warm edges.



However, the heated air molecules that are bouncing around strike the surface of the glass particles and nudge them back to the cooler centre.

Rhode explained that by using two laser beams, the particles can be manipulated to move in different directions.

"We think the technique could work over even longer distances than those we've tested. With the particles and the laser we use, I would guess up to 10 metres (about 33ft)," he said.

The maximum distance he and his team could achieve was limited by the lab equipment. But he said that unlike the beams in Star Trek, his technique would not work in outer space, where there is a vacuum.

"On Earth, though, there are many possible applications, such as being able to move dangerous substances and microbes."