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Opt Express. 2009 Jun 8;17(12):10231-41.

Optical trapping calculations for metal nanoparticles. Comparison with experimental data for Au and Ag spheres.

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Dipartimento di Fisica della Materia e Ingegneria Elettronica, Università di Messina, Messina, Italy.


We calculate the optical forces on Au and Ag nanospheres through a procedure based on the Maxwell stress tensor. We compare the theoretical and experimental force constants obtained for gold and silver nanospheres finding good agreement for all particles with r < 80 nm. The trapping of the larger particles recently demonstrated in experiments is not foreseen by our purely electromagnetic theory based on fixed dielectric properties. Since the laser power produces a heating that may be large for the largest spheres, we propose a model in which the latter particles are surrounded by a steam bubble. This model foresees the trapping of these particles and the results turn out to be in reasonable agreement with the experimental data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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