Research ArticleOPTICS

Nanoscale Lamb wave–driven motors in nonliquid environments

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Science Advances  08 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau8271
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau8271


Achieving light-driven motions in nonliquid environments presents formidable challenges, because microsized objects experience strong dry adhesion and intend to be stuck to contact surfaces with great tenacity. Here, in air and vacuum, we show rotary locomotion of a micrometer-sized metal plate with ~30 nm thickness, revolving around a microfiber. This motor is powered by pulsed light guided into the fiber as a coordinated consequence of an optically excited Lamb wave on the plate and favorable configuration of plate-fiber geometry. The motor, actuated by designed light pulses, crawls stepwise with subnanometer locomotion resolution. Furthermore, we can control the rotation velocity and step resolution by varying the repetition rate and pulse power, respectively. A light-actuated micromirror scanning with 0.001° resolution is then demonstrated on the basis of this motor. It offers unprecedented application potential for integrated micro-opto-electromechanical systems, outer-space all-optical precision mechanics and controls, and laser scanning for miniature lidar systems.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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