Optical trapping has proved to be a valuable research tool in a wide range of fields including physics, chemistry, biological and materials science. The ability to precisely localize individual colloidal particles in a three-dimensional location has been highly useful for understanding soft matter phenomena and inter-particle interactions. It also holds great promise for nanoscale fabrication and ultra-sensitive sensing by enabling precise positioning of specific material building blocks. In this presentation we discuss our research on the effect of the polarization state of the incident laser on the trapping of nanoscale particles. The polarization of the incident light has a pronounced effect on particle behavior even for the simple case of two plasmonic silver nano-particles in a Gaussian trap,. When the incident light is linearly polarized, the particles form an optically induced dimer that is stably oriented along the direction of polarization. However, nanoparticle dimers and trimmers exhibit structural instabilities and novel dynamics when trapped with focused beams of circularly polarized light. The observed dynamics suggest electrodynamic and hydrodynamic coupling. We explore the electrodynamic phenomena experimentally and theoretically and discuss further examples of polarization controlled trapping.
Yuval Yifat, Nishant Sule, Patrick Figliozzi, and Norbert F. Scherer, "Polarization dependent particle dynamics in simple traps," Proc. SPIE 9922, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIII, 99220R (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 29, 2016; Published: 16 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237490.
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