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Optic Blast Made Real on Tiny Scale

If popular fiction is to be believed, then laser bursts can blast you off your feet, and you can stop one energy beam by hurling another directly at it. However, light's just too light (pun intended) and too fast to affect other objects in real life. Well, maybe on larger scales; apparently when you get down to microscopic levels, light can move objects just fine.

Researchers at Rochester University in New York managed to lift micrometer-sized "light foils" using only photons. Specifically, Dr. Grover Swatzlander and his colleagues bombarded  these wing-shaped objects with light from a 130 mW UV laser. While the optic blast predictably carried the tiny wings upward, it also moved the object perpendicular to the light beam, creating what Swatzlander calls "optical lift."

[source: Physorg via io9]