Thursday, June 23, 2016

Evanescent field trapping of nanoparticles using nanostructured ultrathin optical fibers

Mark Daly, Viet Giang Truong, and Síle Nic Chormaic

While conventional optical trapping techniques can trap objects with submicron dimensions, the underlying limits imposed by the diffraction of light generally restrict their use to larger or higher refractive index particles. As the index and diameter decrease, the trapping difficulty rapidly increases; hence, the power requirements for stable trapping become so large as to quickly denature the trapped objects in such diffraction-limited systems. Here, we present an evanescent field-based device capable of confining low index nanoscale particles using modest optical powers as low as 1.2 mW, with additional applications in the field of cold atom trapping. Our experiment uses a nanostructured optical micro-nanofiber to trap 200 nm, low index contrast, fluorescent particles within the structured region, thereby overcoming diffraction limitations. We analyze the trapping potential of this device both experimentally and theoretically, and show how strong optical traps are achieved with low input powers.

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