But you may notice a problem with this technique if you wanted to install the laser-tractor beam on the USS Enterprise. This system needs to be operated in an atmosphere, not in a vacuum - the glass particles are kept in place by laser-heated air molecules after all.
Still, there are a huge variety of applications this burgeoning tractor beam has on Earth. For one, this could be used to transport dangerous microorganisms "hands free" in biomedical facilities; a step-up from the optical tweezers already in use. It could also be used in the construction of sensitive microscopic machines.
So, will Star Trek‘s tractor beam ever be possible? Unless gravitons are discovered, it would seem this technology is unlikely at best.
However, that's been said about another Star Trek favorite: the warp drive. Assuming the existence of dark energy, tiny extra-dimensions and a method to generate a shedload of energy, advanced propulsion expert Richard Obousy thinks zipping around the cosmos at warp speed could have potential.