Giovanni Volpe: Optical forces go smart
Optical forces have revolutionized nanotechnology. In particular, optical forces have been used to measure and exert femtonewton forces on nanoscopic objects. This has provided the essential tools to develop nanothermodynamics, to explore nanoscopic interactions such as critical Casimir forces, and to realize microscopic devices capable of autonomous operation.
The future of optical forces now lies in the development of smarter experimental setups and data-analysis algorithms, partially empowered by the machine-learning revolution. This will open unprecedented possibilities, such as the study of the energy and information flows in nanothermodynamics systems, the design of novel forms of interactions between nanoparticles, and the realization of smart microscopic devices.
Giovanni Volpe is an associate professor at Göteborg University, where he leads the Soft Matter Lab. He has published more than 80 articles on diverse topics including optical trapping, active matter, and neurosciences, and co-authored the book Optical Tweezers: Principles and Applications (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Volpe is the recipient the ERC Starting Grant ComplexSwimmers and coordinator of the MSCA Innovative Training Networks ActiveMatter.
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