Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Optical trapping and manipulation of micrometer and submicrometer particles

Mark Daly, Marios Sergides and Síle Nic Chormaic
Subwavelength features in conjunction with light-guiding structures have gained significant interest in recent decades due to their wide range of applications to particle and atom trapping. Lately, the focus of particle trapping has shifted from the microscale to the nanoscale. This few orders of magnitude change is driven, in part, by the needs of life scientists who wish to better manipulate smaller biological samples. Devices with subwavelength features are excellent platforms for shaping local electric fields for this purpose. A major factor that inhibits the manipulation of submicrometer particles is the diffraction-limited spot size of free-space laser beams. As a result, technologies that can circumvent this limit are highly desirable. This review covers some of the more significant advances in the field, from the earliest attempts at trapping using focused Gaussian beams, to more sophisticated hybrid plasmonic/metamaterial structures. In particular, examples of emerging optical trapping configurations are presented.

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