Ultra-precise manipulation and assembly of nanoparticles using three fundamental optical forces
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The invention of the laser in 1960 opened the door for a myriad of studies on the interactions between light and matter. Eventually it was shown that highly focused laser beams could be used to con fine and manipulate matter in a controlled way, and these instruments were known as optical traps. However, challenges remain as there is a delicate balance between object size, precision of control, laser power, and temperature that must be satisfied. In Part I of this dissertation, I describe the development of two optical trapping instruments which substantially extend the allowed parameter ranges. Both instruments utilize a standing wave optical field to generate strong optical gradient forces while minimizing the optical scattering forces, thus dramatically improving trapping efficiency. One instrument uses a cylinder lens to extend the trapping region into a line focus, rather than a point focus, thereby confining objects to 1D motion. By translation of the cylinder lens, lateral scattering forces can be generated to transport objects along the 1D trapping volume, and these scattering forces can be controlled independently of the optical gradient forces. The second instrument uses a collimated beam to generate wide, planar trapping regions which can con fine nanoparticles to 2D motion. In Part II, I use these instruments to provide the first quantitative measurements of the optical binding interaction between nanoparticles. I show that the optical binding force can be over 20 times stronger than the optical gradient force generated in typical optical traps, and I map out the 2D optical binding energy landscape between a pair of gold nanoparticles. I show how this ultra-strong optical binding leads to the self-assembly of multiple nanoparticles into larger contactless clusters of well de ned geometry. I nally show that these clusters have a geometry dependent coupling to the external optical field.
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