Experimental setup schematic showing laser source, microscope, and imaging detector and spectrometer. The inset illustrates the two different sample configurations that were explored; red arrows correspond to the input polarization directions and black arrows depict the propagation vector.
“We already know that plasmonic nanoantennas enhance local fields by up to several orders of magnitude, and thus, previously showed that we can use these structures with a regular CW laser source to make very good optical tweezers,” explains, Kimani Toussaint, Jr., assistant professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois. “This is exciting because, for the first time, we’re showing that, the near-field optical forces can be enhanced even further, without doing anything extra in terms of fabrication, but rather simply by exploiting the high-peak powers associated with using a femtosecond (fs) optical source.
“We used an average power of 50 microwatts to trap, manipulate, and probe nanoparticles. This is 100x less power than what you would get from a standard laser pointer.”
In their recent paper, “Femtosecond-pulsed plasmonic nanotweezers” published in the September 17 issue of Scientific Reports; doi:10.1038/srep00660), the researchers describe how a femtosecond-pulsed laser beam significantly augments the trapping strength of Au bowtie nanoantennas arrays (BNAs), and the first demonstration of use of femtosecond (fs) source for optical trapping with plasmonic nanotweezers.
“Our system operates at average power levels approximately three orders of magnitude lower than the expected optical damage threshold for biological structures, thereby making this technology very attractive for biological (lab-on-a-chip) applications such as cell manipulation,” added Toussaint, who is also an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “This system offers increased local diagnostic capabilities by permitting the probing of the nonlinear optical response of trapped specimens, enabling studies of in vitro fluorescent-tagged cells, or viruses using a single line for trapping and probing rather than two or more laser lines.”
"We present strong evidence that a fs source could actually augment the near-field optical forces produced by the BNAs, and most likely, other nanoantenna systems, as well. To our knowledge, this has never been demonstrated,” said Brian Roxworthy, a graduate student in Toussaint’s PROBE (Photonics Research of Bio/nano Environments) lab group and first author of the paper. According to Roxworthy, the demonstration of controlled particle fusing could be important for creating novel nanostructures, as well as for enhancing the local magnetic field response, which will be important for the field of magnetic plasmonics.
The paper also demonstrated enhancement of trap stiffness of up to 2x that of a comparable continuous-wave (CW) nanotweezers and 5x that of conventional optical tweezers that employ a fs source; successful trapping and tweezing of spherical particles ranging from 80-nm to 1.2-um in diameter, metal, dielectric, and both fluorescent and non- fluorescent particles; enhancement of two-photon fluorescent signal from trapped microparticles in comparison to the response without the presence of the BNAs; enhancement of the second-harmonic signal of ~3.5x for the combined nanoparticle-BNA system compared to the bare BNAs; and fusing of Ag nanoparticles to the BNAS.
Contact: Kimani C. Toussaint, Jr., Department of Mechanical Science & Engineering, 217/244-4088.
Kimani C. Toussaint, Jr. | EurekAlert!
Silicon solar cell of ISFH yields 25% efficiency with passivating POLO contacts
08.12.2016 | Institut für Solarenergieforschung GmbH
Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer IFAM
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences