Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Direct measurement of optical trapping force gradient on polystyrene microspheres using a carbon nanotube mechanical resonator

Masaaki Yasuda, Kuniharu Takei, Takayuki Arie & Seiji Akita

Optical tweezers based on optical radiation pressure are widely used to manipulate nanoscale to microscale particles. This study demonstrates direct measurement of the optical force gradient distribution acting on a polystyrene (PS) microsphere using a carbon nanotube (CNT) mechanical resonator, where a PS microsphere with 3 μm diameter is welded at the CNT tip using laser heating. With the CNT mechanical resonator with PS microsphere, we measured the distribution of optical force gradient with resolution near the thermal noise limit of 0.02 pN/μm in vacuum, in which condition enables us to high accuracy measurement using the CNT mechanical resonator because of reduced mechanical damping from surrounding fluid. The obtained force gradient and the force gradient distribution agree well with theoretical values calculated using Lorenz–Mie theory.

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