In 2368, a tractor beam emitter of the USS Enterprise was used to it to hold an object in a fixed location. You probably didn`t know - their smaller sisters are reality in scientific labs for studying a variety of biological systems.
Optical tweezers (originally called "single-beam gradient force trap") are scientific instruments that use a highly focused laser beam to provide an attractive or repulsive force (typically on the order of piconewtons), depending on the refractive index mismatch to physically hold and move microscopic dielectric objects similar to tweezers. Optical tweezers have been particularly successful in studying a variety of biological systems for many years.
|Starship USS Enterprise||Optical Tweezers Research Grade System|
|Applications||Preventing an enemy from escaping||Manipulating and observing small samples in real time with nanometer precision and nano or even femto-newton forces|
|For securing or retrieving cargo, passengers, shuttlecraft, etc||Measuring of protein-ligand and colloid–colloid interactions|
|Quantification of cell - virus interactions|
|Discovered||1931 by E. E. Smith in his novel Spacehounds of IPC||1970 by Art Ashkin at Bell Telephone Laboratories|
|Routinely used since||2368||1990|
Optical Tweezers in Action: A real-time video of an research grade optical tweezer system is used to manipulate groups of microspheres.
A fluorescent bead is optically trapped and moved in 3D through a sample of fluorescently labeled cells: