Optical tweezers integrated with Raman spectroscopy allows analyzing a single trapped micro-particle, but is generally less effective for individual nano-sized objects in the 10-100 nm range. The main challenge is the weak gradient force on nanoparticles that is insufficient to overcome the destabilizing effect of scattering force and Brownian motion. Here, we present standing-wave Raman tweezers for stable trapping and sensitive characterization of single isolated nanostructures with a low laser power by combining a standing-wave optical trap (SWOT) with confocal Raman spectroscopy. This scheme has stronger intensity gradients and balanced scattering forces, and thus is more stable and sensitive in measuring nanoparticles in liquid with 4-8 fold increase in the Raman signals. It can be used to analyze many nanoparticles that cannot be measured with single-beam Raman tweezers, including individual single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), graphene flakes, biological particles, polystyrene beads (100 nm), SERS-active metal nanoparticles, and high-refractive semiconductor nanoparticles with a low laser power of a few milliwatts. This would enable sorting and characterization of specific SWCNTs and other nanoparticles based on their increased Raman fingerprints.
Mu-ying Wu, Lin He, Gui-hua Chen, Guang Yang, and Yong-qing Li, "Optical trapping and Raman spectroscopy of single nanostructures using standing-wave Raman tweezers," Proc. SPIE 10347, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIV, 103470G (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 06, 2017; Published: 25 August 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2276973.
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