Alejandro V. Arzola, Mario Villasante-Barahona, Karen Volke-Sepúlveda, Petr Jákl, and Pavel Zemánek
A fully reconfigurable two-dimensional (2D) rocking ratchet system created with holographic optical micromanipulation is presented. We can generate optical potentials with the geometry of any Bravais lattice in 2D and introduce a spatial asymmetry with arbitrary orientation. Nontrivial directed transport of Brownian particles along different directions is demonstrated numerically and experimentally, including on axis, perpendicular, and oblique with respect to an unbiased ac driving. The most important aspect to define the current direction is shown to be the asymmetry and not the driving orientation, and yet we show a system in which the asymmetry orientation of each potential well does not coincide with the transport direction, suggesting an additional symmetry breaking as a result of a coupling with the lattice configuration. Our experimental device, due to its versatility, opens up a new range of possibilities in the study of nonequilibrium dynamics at the microscopic level.