Research ArticleOPTICS

Long-distance optical pulling of nanoparticle in a low index cavity using a single plane wave

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Science Advances  20 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 21, eaaz3646
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz3646


Optical pulling force (OPF) can make a nanoparticle (NP) move against the propagation direction of the incident light. Long-distance optical pulling is highly desired for nano-object manipulation, but its realization remains challenging. We propose an NP-in-cavity structure that can be pulled by a single plane wave to travel long distances when the spherical cavity wrapping the NP has a refractive index lower than the medium. An electromagnetic multipole analysis shows that NPs made of many common materials can receive the OPF inside a lower index cavity. Using a silica-Au core-shell NP that is encapsulated by a plasmonic nanobubble, we experimentally demonstrate that a single laser can pull the Au NP-in-nanobubble structure for ~0.1 mm. These results may lead to practical applications that can use the optical pulling of NP, such as optically driven nanostructure assembly and nanoswimmers.

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