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Opt Express. 2012 Oct 8;20(21):24068-84. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.024068.

Optical levitation of a non-spherical particle in a loosely focused Gaussian beam.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, South Korea.


The optical force on a non-spherical particle subjected to a loosely focused laser beam was calculated using the dynamic ray tracing method. Ellipsoidal particles with different aspect ratios, inclination angles, and positions were modeled, and the effects of these parameters on the optical force were examined. The vertical component of the optical force parallel to the laser beam axis decreased as the aspect ratio decreased, whereas the ellipsoid with a small aspect ratio and a large inclination angle experienced a large vertical optical force. The ellipsoids were pulled toward or repelled away from the laser beam axis, depending on the inclination angle, and they experienced a torque near the focal point. The behavior of the ellipsoids in a viscous fluid was examined by analyzing a dynamic simulation based on the penalty immersed boundary method. As the ellipsoids levitated along the direction of the laser beam propagation, they moved horizontally with rotation. Except for the ellipsoid with a small aspect ratio and a zero inclination angle near the focal point, the ellipsoids rotated until the major axis aligned with the laser beam axis.

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