Using muscle power as a model, scientists have discovered a way to move an object without touching it, by using only a beam of light. They can use this method to move objects up a hill as well as on a flat surface. Some day light beams may be used to guide drugs to the specific parts of the body where they’re needed. This would be especially valuable for anti-cancer drugs.

Scottish researcher David Leigh covered a gold Teflon-like surface with micro-particles that move up and down a tiny amount when exposed to light. He placed drops of water on this specially-engineered surface and beamed ultra-violet light at them. This changed the surface tension of the liquid and created enough energy to activate the tiny particles and move the water.

This may not seem like much to us, but to nano-technologists, it’s like using pistons to lift an object two times as tall as the world’s tallest building.

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