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Proceedings Paper

Dynamics of optically levitated microparticles in vacuum placed in 2D and 3D optical potentials possessing orbital angular momentum
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Paper Abstract

We demonstrate the transfer of orbital angular momentum to optically levitated microparticles in vacuum [1]. We prepare two-dimensional and three-dimensional optical potentials. In the former case the microparticle is placed within a Laguerre-Gaussian beam and orbits the annular beam profile with increasing angular velocity as the air drag coefficient is reduced. We explore the particle dynamics as a function of the topological charge of the levitating beam. Our results reveal that there is a fundamental limit to the orbital angular momentum that may be transferred to a trapped particle, dependent upon the beam parameters and inertial forces present. This effect was predicted theoretically [2] and can be understood considering the underlying dynamics arising from the link between the magnitude of the azimuthal index and the beam radius [3]. Whilst a Laguerre-Gaussian beam scales in size with azimuthal index `, recently we have created a “perfect” vortex beam whose radial intensity profile and radius are both independent of topological charge [4, 5]. As the Fourier transform of a perfect vortex yields a Bessel beam. Imaging a perfect vortex, with its subsequent propagation thus realises a complex three dimensional optical field. In this scenario we load individual silica microparticles into this field and observe their trajectories. The optical gradient and scattering forces interplay with the inertial and gravitational forces acting on the trapped particle, including the rotational degrees of freedom. As a result the trapped microparticle exhibits a complex three dimensional motion that includes a periodic orbital motion between the Bessel and the perfect vortex beam. We are able to determine the three dimensional optical potential in situ by tracking the particle. This first demonstration of trapping microparticles within a complex three dimensional optical potential in vacuum opens up new possibilities for fundamental studies of many-body dynamics, mesoscopic entanglement [6, 7], and optical binding [8, 9].

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2017
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 10252, Optical Manipulation Conference, 102520V (18 April 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2275309
Show Author Affiliations
Yoshihiko Arita, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Chiba Univ. (Japan)
Michael Mazilu, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Mingzhou Chen, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Tom Vettenburg, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Juan M. Auñón, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Ewan M. Wright, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Kishan Dholakia, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10252:
Optical Manipulation Conference
Takashige Omatsu, Editor(s)

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