"Though a mainstay in science fiction, and Star Trek in particular, laser-based trapping isn't fanciful or beyond current technological know-how," said Stysley. “Current techniques have proven to be largely successful, but they are limited by high costs and limited range and sample rate. An optical-trapping system, on the other hand, could grab desired molecules from the upper atmosphere on an orbiting spacecraft or trap them from the ground or lower atmosphere from a lander. In other words, they could continuously and remotely capture particles over a longer period of time, which would enhance science goals and reduce mission risk." - excerpt from DailyTech.com article
No - it's not a manufacturing trend today, but it will become one. Using light to move things - the possibilities are endless (once you actual figure out how to do it, that is)!
Read about more manufacturing business news at Industrial Trends Report home.