Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Contact electrification of individual dielectric microparticles measured by optical tweezers in air

Haesung Park and Thomas W. LeBrun

We measure charging of single dielectric microparticles after interaction with a glass substrate using optical tweezers to control the particle, measure its charge with a sensitivity of a few electrons and precisely contact the particle with the substrate. Polystyrene (PS) microparticles adhered to the substrate can be selected based on size, shape, or optical properties and repeatedly loaded into the optical trap using a piezoelectric (PZT) transducer. Separation from the substrate leads to charge transfer through contact electrification. The charge on the trapped microparticles is measured from the response of the particle motion to a step excitation of a uniform electric field. The particle is then placed onto a target location of the substrate in a controlled manner. Thus, the triboelectric charging profile of the selected PS microparticle can be measured and controlled through repeated cycles of trap loading followed by charge measurement. Reversible optical trap loading and manipulation of the selected particle leads to new capabilities to study and control successive and small changes in surface interactions.

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