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Opt Lett. 1992 Jun 1;17(11):772-4.

Movement of micrometer-sized particles in the evanescent field of a laser beam.


We report that small particles with diameters of 1-27 microm have moved in the evanescent fields produced by a laser beam. The evanescent field in the experiment was produced in the near field of the surface of a highrefractive-index sapphire prism illuminated by a 1.06-microm YAG laser beam with an incident angle larger than the critical angle. Both polystyrene latex spheres and glass spheres bounced and ran along the surface of the prism when the laser beam was on. The maximum running speed obtained was approximately 20 microm/s. A micrograph of the running particles is shown with plots of the measured velocity versus the incident angle of the laser beam. Applications of this phenomenon are also discussed.

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