Tweezer Laser Beams Can Move Particles Without Damaging Them
Researchers developed optical nanotweezers that can transport particles in multi-parameter spaces.
Led by Professor Romain Quidant, researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences has developed optical nanotweezers that use light to transport tiny particles in three dimensions. Without physically touching the tiny objects, this highly-advanced device shapes the light to envelop and trap a microscopic object by focusing a beam of laser light, which create a “self-induced back action.”
It features a metal-coated optical fiber with a bowtie-shaped opening, and is capable of manipulating particles 1,000 times thinner than human hair without overheating the object, which past proof-of-concept optical tweezers couldn’t avoid.
Because this device can move microscopic objects across a lengthy stretch of several micrometers, it could be extremely useful in the field of medicine, where scientists could potentially control viruses or DNA without damaging their pieces.
Though optical tweezers are not a foreign concept, their outdated designs weren’t able to move objects in multi-parameter spaces, and most certainly, couldn’t handle objects bigger than a few hundred nanometers in size. But this new development is breaking down barriers, and could lead to faster advancements in scientific research.
The team has published their Nature Nanotechnology research paper, which you can read about here.