What about the possibility of levitating objects with lasers? And what if we can bring them back and put them back? Would the world be a better place?
That’s the fascinating research being done at an international facility called The University of Tokyo. The research involves manipulating atoms in the ground, using high-energy microwaves to turn them into a kind of levitating metal, one that could carry weight and even walk around on their own.
There are three ways of levitating objects: They are the current version of levitating objects by magnets, a version of levitating the ground with lasers, and an experimental version using lasers. The team at the US Department of Energy’s Joint Neutron Source facility is trying to create a new type by levitating atoms above a glass of water.
The team has produced a variety of different nanomaterials into two different types of solid.
One material is made of a metal that levitates when it is heated to super-high temperatures (about 500 degrees Celsius), making it more stable. A second material is made of a carbon nanotube that levitates when it is heated and cooled to the proper temperature.
One of the researchers, Dr Yasumasa Hirano, says the researchers are looking for solutions for a range of problems that could be difficult or expensive to overcome.
“Using microwaves we can control the strength of the magnetic field, control the speed of the laser,” he says. “We can make a very light metal, and a very strong metal, which allows us to walk like a man.”
The team is also working on developing ways of making levitating objects more efficient or even more robust.
“The laser-driven process allows us to use material that is relatively easily available, and with which we can use to create many kinds of metallic, or super-metals,” Hirano says.
The team is currently working to refine the levitation process using another type of nanotube called carbon fiber. This material can levitate like other metal nanotubes but cannot levitate very much more than 2 centimeters.
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