52. Optothermal pulling and trapping..with nanowire plasmons

We have a new paper published in the journal ‘Soft Matter’ titled : Optothermal pulling, trapping, and assembly of colloids using nanowire plasmons

When a silver nanowire is optically illuminated under certain conditions, they propagate surface plasmons. These surface electromagnetic waves not only propagate light at subwavelength scale, but also generate heat along the nanowire.

A question of interest to us: can we use the quasi one-dimensional optothermal potential of a nanowire-plasmon to trap and assemble soft, microscale matter ?

Motivated by this question – Vandana, Sunny and Dipta from my research group, performed optical trapping based experiments to show an interesting pulling and trapping effect on dielectric colloids (see video). Furthermore, by increasing the concentration of the colloids, an emerging two dimensional crystal was observed. Interestingly, the formation of this two dimensional assembly was found to be sensitive to the optical polarization at the excitation point on the nanowire.

Thanks are also due to other co-authors: my colleague Vijayakumar Chikkadi and his student Rathi for helping us to implement the particle tracking code on python.

Optical trapping and tweezing is a fascinating area of research. By adding plasmons to the mix of things, these optical effects become intriguing. Importantly, they facilitate a platform to explore questions in non equilibrium statistical mechanics including optically driven active matter…

Afterall, more is different…

DOI of article : https://doi.org/10.1039/D1SM01365C

Link to arxiv preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/2109.09557

All videos here :

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