Z. Shen, L. Su, X.-C. Yuan, and Y.-C. Shen
We have experimentally observed the steady rotation of a mesoscopic size metallic particle trimer that is optically trapped by tightly focused circularly polarized optical vortex. Our theoretical analysis suggests that a large proportion of the radial scattering force pushes the metallic particles together, whilst the remaining portion provides the centripetal force necessary for the rotation. Furthermore, we have achieved the optical trapping and rotation of four dielectric particles with optical vortex. We found that, different from the metallic particles, instead of being pushed together by the radial scattering force, the dielectric particles are trapped just outside the maximum intensity ring of the focused field. The radial gradient force attracting the dielectric particles towards the maximum intensity ring provides the centripetal force for the rotation. The achieved steady rotation of the metallic particle trimer reported here may open up applications such as the micro-rotor.