Monday, February 24, 2014

Plasmonic particles set into fast orbital motion by an optical vortex beam

Anni Lehmuskero, Yanming Li, Peter Johansson, and Mikael Käll

We optically trap plasmonic gold particles in two dimensions and set them into circular motion around the optical axis using a helically phased vortex laser beam. The orbiting frequency of the particles reaches 86 Hz, which corresponds to a particle velocity of the order 1 mm per second, for an incident laser power of a few tens of milliwatts. The experimentally determined orbiting frequencies are found to be well in line with the notion that the beam carries an orbital angular momentum of ħl per photon.

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