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Friday, February 17, 2017

Measurement of laterally induced optical forces at the nanoscale

Fei Huang, Venkata Ananth Tamma, Mohsen Rajaei, Mohammad Almajhadi, and H. Kumar Wickramasinghe

We demonstrate the measurement of laterally induced optical forces using an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The lateral electric field distribution between a gold coated AFM probe and a single nano-aperture in a gold film is mapped by measuring the lateral optical force between the apex of the AFM probe and the nano-aperture. The fundamental torsional eigen-mode of an AFM cantilever probe was used to detect the laterally induced optical forces. We engineered the cantilever shape using focused ion beam milling to improve the detected signal to noise ratio. The measured distributions of lateral optical force agree well with electromagnetic simulations of the metal coated AFM probe interacting with the nano-aperture. This technique can be extended to simultaneously detect both lateral and longitudinal optical forces at the nanoscale by using an AFM cantilever as a multi-channel detector. This will enable simultaneous Photon Induced Force Microscopy detection of molecular responses with different incident field polarizations. The technique can be implemented on both cantilever and tuning fork based AFMs.

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