I know that light has momentum and it has been used to pick up nanoparticles. But I am thinking, is it possible for us make a pouch of light to carry a very small object from one place to another. The transfer should cover a large distance.

  • $\begingroup$ Does it have to be a pouch? What distance are you hoping to cover? Optical tweezers can carry something a tiny distance, but the technology to carry a particle any distance requires a good deal of optical alignment and calibration. While not impossible, it would be very difficult to create something that could physically move a nanoparticle over a distance of several kilometers. $\endgroup$ – Jim Jan 6 '17 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ You cannot "carry" anything with photons, since this would require those thing to travel at the speed of light. But you can push thing with photons. This is the mechanism behind, e.g., stellar winds and solar sails. $\endgroup$ – pela Jan 6 '17 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ Optical tweezers en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_tweezers $\endgroup$ – Pieter Jan 6 '17 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ Seems clear to me what the question is asking; any one of the close-voters mind explaining what is unclear? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Jan 9 '17 at 11:09

I do not understand what you mean by a "pouch" of light. However, yes it is possible to move very small objects using light.

Light can be used to manipulate micron-sized particles by a technique known as Optical Tweezers.

Light is refracted as it passes through a transparent or translucent object. Light carries momentum so there is a change of momentum which results in a force on the particle in the opposite direction. Particles are deflected towards the most intense part of the beam of light, and can be trapped at a focus. Moving the focus of the beam moves the particle.

Very small reflective particles can also be pushed by bouncing light off them.


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