Thursday, December 19, 2013

Focused plasmonic trapping of metallic particles

Changjun Min, Zhe Shen, Junfeng Shen, Yuquan Zhang, Hui Fang, Guanghui Yuan, Luping Du, Siwei Zhu, Ting Lei & Xiaocong Yuan

Scattering forces in focused light beams push away metallic particles. Thus, trapping metallic particles with conventional optical tweezers, especially those of Mie particle size, is difficult. Here we investigate a mechanism by which metallic particles are attracted and trapped by plasmonic tweezers when surface plasmons are excited and focused by a radially polarized beam in a high-numerical-aperture microscopic configuration. This contrasts the repulsion exerted in optical tweezers with the same configuration. We believe that different types of forces exerted on particles are responsible for this contrary trapping behaviour. Further, trapping with plasmonic tweezers is found not to be due to a gradient force balancing an opposing scattering force but results from the sum of both gradient and scattering forces acting in the same direction established by the strong coupling between the metallic particle and the highly focused plasmonic field. Theoretical analysis and simulations yield good agreement with experimental results.

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