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I know electromagnetic forces (not specific on the source) can affect matter particles of various types, but can they exert effective force on any type of matter particle? For example, say they came out with a type of device that could emit and direct a strong electromagnetic force to varying degrees. Could they hypothetically use it to move objects that aren't exactly conductive?

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    $\begingroup$ It depends on how strong your "any" is when you say "any type of matter particle". Neutrinos might be matter particles (we don't know exactly whether they have zero or nonzero mass), and they most certainly won't be affected by electro-magnetism. $\endgroup$ Dec 12 '19 at 21:32
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Electromagnetic forces only act on particles with electric charge. In the standard model these are

  • Quarks
  • Charged leptons (electrons, muons, tauons)
  • W bosons

and their associated antiparticles. Some combinations of quarks, like neutrons, have an overall electric charge of zero. However, because they still have a magnetic moment they can experience a force in a magnetic field.

Particles in the standard model that do not carry electric charge are:

  • Neutrinos
  • The photon and Z boson
  • Gluons
  • The Higgs boson

Dark matter, as far as we are aware, is also unaffected by electromagnetic fields.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think your answer is what I’m looking for. To give some context on the conversation that sparked this question, a guy and I at work were discussing the possibility of weapons of the distant future, most specifically a device that could make objects move from a distance with precision. We then started talking about the forces of nature that the weapon would have to use. Nuclear (weak and strong) were of topic, but then the topic of electromagnetism came up, and with neither of us being adept in physics, we didn’t really know what it could affect. $\endgroup$ Dec 13 '19 at 3:24
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Yes, this has been done for a variety of objects including small frogs:

https://www.ru.nl/hfml/research/levitation/diamagnetic-levitation/

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  • $\begingroup$ Could this work for even less conductive entities that exist in our world? $\endgroup$ Dec 12 '19 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ Less than what? A frog? A tomato? Everything is made up of a combination of positive and negatively charged particles. I can't say to what degree of "less" you are trying to specify, or if that for some items it may or may not take more energy than our universe has to offer. The paper outlines that the magnetic force on the object must overcome gravity, so mass is also a factor. But given enough energy, this should theoretically be possible for anything. Tis the nature of electrons. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Dec 12 '19 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ If you read the section titled "Why does the frog fly", it does a very good job of explaining why this is possible. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Dec 12 '19 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ I don’t think this answers the question — providing one example of something experiencing a force in an EM field doesn’t show that any type of particle can be moved by one. $\endgroup$
    – DavidH
    Dec 12 '19 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ My comment wasn't what "answered the question", it was the paper referenced. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Dec 13 '19 at 19:20

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