Friday, July 15, 2016

Dual focused coherent beams for three-dimensional optical trapping and continuous rotation of metallic nanostructures

Xiaohao Xu, Chang Cheng, Yao Zhang, Hongxiang Lei & Baojun Li

Metallic nanoparticles and nanowires are extremely important for nanoscience and nanotechnology. Techniques to optically trap and rotate metallic nanostructures can enable their potential applications. However, because of the destabilizing effects of optical radiation pressure, the optical trapping of large metallic particles in three dimensions is challenging. Additionally, the photothermal issues associated with optical rotation of metallic nanowires have far prevented their practical applications. Here, we utilize dual focused coherent beams to realize three-dimensional (3D) optical trapping of large silver particles. Continuous rotation of silver nanowires with frequencies measured in several hertz is also demonstrated based on interference-induced optical vortices with very low local light intensity. The experiments are interpreted by numerical simulations and calculations.

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