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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Sep 2;89(10):108303. Epub 2002 Aug 19.

Light streak tracking of optically trapped thin microdisks.

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Corporate Strategic Research, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Route 22 East, Annandale, New Jersey 08801, USA.


Nonspherical particles can uniquely probe soft system dynamics. We show that laser tweezers stably trap thin coinlike microdisks in 3D with an edge-on orientation. Scattered light forms a streak that we track using a fast camera to measure the disk's angular displacement. Linearly polarized tweezers rotationally trap a birefringent disk, and we measure its harmonically bound Brownian rotation over 5 decades in time. Near a surface, the disk exhibits a translational-orientational switchback oscillation. Circularly polarized tweezers rotate the disk and streak, yielding a colloidal lighthouse.

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