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Appl Opt. 2008 Jun 10;47(17):3196-202.

High trapping forces for high-refractive index particles trapped in dynamic arrays of counterpropagating optical tweezers.

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  • 1Fundamenteel Onderzoek der Materie Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF), Kruislaan 407, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We demonstrate the simultaneous trapping of multiple high-refractive index (n > 2) particles in a dynamic array of counterpropagating optical tweezers in which the destabilizing scattering forces are canceled. These particles cannot be trapped in single-beam optical tweezers. The combined use of two opposing high-numerical aperture objectives and micrometer-sized high-index titania particles yields an at least threefold increase in both axial and radial trap stiffness compared to silica particles under the same conditions. The stiffness in the radial direction is obtained from measured power spectra; calculations are given for both the radial and the axial force components, taking spherical aberrations into account. A pair of acousto-optic deflectors allows for fast, computer-controlled manipulation of the individual trapping positions in a plane, while the method used to create the patterns ensures the possibility of arbitrarily chosen configurations. The manipulation of high-index particles finds its application in, e.g., creating defects in colloidal photonic crystals and in exerting high forces with low laser power in, for example, biophysical experiments.

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