Ming-Tzo Wei, Jack Ng, C. T. Chan & H. Daniel Ou-Yang
An optical binding force between two nearby colloidal particles trapped by two coherent laser beams is measured by phase-sensitive detection. The binding force is long-range and spatially oscillatory. For identical linearly-polarized incident beams, the oscillation period is equal to the optical wavelength. For mutually perpendicular polarizations, a new force appears with half-wavelength periodicity, caused by double inter-particle scattering. This force is observable only with cross-polarized incident beams, for which the stronger single-scattering forces are forbidden by parity.