We investigated the optical binding between dielectric microparticles in the evanescent fields of the first group of
higher order microfiber modes. Particle groups consisting of up to five particles were propelled along the fiber and
neighboring interactions were experimentally investigated and supported by numerical simulation.
Optical micro- and nanofibers have attracted great interest due to their potential for trapping and manipulating micronsized particles in the evanescent field that extends from their surface. To date, most particle manipulation research has been limited to fundamental mode propagation within the ultrathin fiber. In this work, we study propulsion of polystyrene particles under the influence of the evanescent field from the first order guided modes and compare it to the fundamental mode case. Speeds of single and double particles are compared, and the optical binding effect between particles is analyzed. The dependence of the particles’ speeds on their diameter is studied for 1 μm, 3 μm, and 5 μm diameter polystyrene particles using the higher order modes of the fibers. Furthermore, we also study the material dependence of particle propulsion speeds.