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Opt Express. 2008 Mar 3;16(5):2942-57.

FDTD simulations of forces on particles during holographic assembly.

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  • 1H.H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL, UK.


We present finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) calculations of the forces and torques on dielectric particles of various shapes, held in one or many Gaussian optical traps, as part of a study of the physical limitations involved in the construction of micro- and nanostructures using a dynamic holographic assembler (DHA). We employ a full 3-dimensional FDTD implementation, which includes a complete treatment of optical anisotropy. The Gaussian beams are sourced using a multipole expansion of a fifth order Davis beam. Force and torques are calculated for pairs of silica spheres in adjacent traps, for silica cylinders trapped by multiple beams and for oblate silica spheroids and calcite spheres in both linearly and circularly polarized beams. Comparisons are drawn between the magnitudes of the optical forces and the Van der Waals forces acting on the systems. The paper also considers the limitations of the FDTD approach when applied to optical trapping.

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