Controlling optical binding creates trap for optical matter

March 22, 2006

Optical binding forces can be precisely controlled to realize a trap for self-organized optical matter, MIT researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.

Optical binding forces, reported in 1989 by Burns et al., manifest themselves as soon as multiple particles interact in an electromagnetic field. So far, these forces have been experimentally verified but they have never been actively controlled to achieve desired properties.

"Our paper shows for the first time a precise control of these forces," said Tomasz M. Grzegorczyk, a research scientist in MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics. This is illustrated "by balancing the radiation pressure from a laser light, a work pioneered by Ashkin in the 1970s-1980s, to realize an optical trap.

"Such control can be used to create reconfigurable field and force distributions with customizable properties in space and time, which have important applications in biology for the manipulation of small living organisms and in astronomy for the design of a giant space laser trapped mirror as postulated by Labeyrie in 1979."

Source: MIT

Explore further: Entering the strange world of ultra-cold chemistry

Related Stories

Entering the strange world of ultra-cold chemistry

November 2, 2015

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to study the unusual chemical and physical properties of atoms and molecules ...

Physicists show 'molecules' made of light may be possible

September 10, 2015

It's not lightsaber time, not yet. But a team including theoretical physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has taken another step toward building objects out of photons, and the findings ...

MU researchers develop advanced 3-D 'force microscope'

December 17, 2013

Membrane proteins are the "gatekeepers" that allow information and molecules to pass into and out of a cell. Until recently, the microscopic study of these complex proteins has been restricted due to limitations of "force ...

Recommended for you

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.