Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Grating-flanked plasmonic coaxial apertures for efficient fiber optical tweezers

Amr A. E. Saleh, Sassan Sheikhoelislami, Steven Gastelum, and Jennifer A. Dionne

Subwavelength plasmonic apertures have been foundational for direct optical manipulation of nanoscale specimens including sub-100 nm polymeric beads, metallic nanoparticles and proteins. While most plasmonic traps result in two-dimensional localization, three-dimensional manipulation has been demonstrated by integrating a plasmonic aperture on an optical fiber tip. However, such 3D traps are usually inefficient since the optical mode of the fiber and the subwavelength aperture only weakly couple. In this paper we design more efficient optical-fiber-based plasmonic tweezers combining a coaxial plasmonic aperture with a plasmonic grating coupler at the fiber tip facet. Using full-field finite difference time domain analysis, we optimize the grating design for both gold and silver fiber-based coaxial tweezers such that the optical transmission through the apertures is maximized. With the optimized grating, we show that the maximum transmission efficiency increases from 2.5% to 19.6% and from 1.48% to 16.7% for the gold and silver structures respectively. To evaluate their performance as optical tweezers, we calculate the optical forces and the corresponding trapping potential on dielectric particles interacting with the apertures. We demonstrate that the enahncement in the transmission translates into an equivalent increase in the optical forces. Consequently, the optical power required to achieve stable optical trapping is significantly reduced allowing for efficient localization and 3D manipulation of sub-30 nm dielectric particles.

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