Optical Trapping Dynamics of a Single Polystyrene Sphere: Continuous Wave versus Femtosecond Lasers

Tsung Han Liu, Wei Yi Chiang, Anwar Usman*, Hiroshi Masuhara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Understanding of optical trapping dynamics of a single particle in the trapping site is important to develop its optical manipulation for molecular assembly and chemical application. For micrometer-sized Mie particles, similar trapping efficiency of the conventional continuous wave (cw) laser or high-repetition-rate femtosecond (fs) laser pulse train has been established [Dholakia et al., Opt. Express 2010, 18, 7554-7568], in contrast to higher efficiency of the laser pulses to trap dielectric Rayleigh particles. To further explore and clarify the switching phenomena of optical trapping efficiency with cw laser and fs laser pulse and to elucidate its nature, we study the immobilization dynamics of a single polystyrene sphere with 500 nm in diameter (which is comparable to focal beam size) in shallow potential well. By observing trapping events and immobilization time of the particle with a size in Lorenz-Mie regime, distinct from well-known Rayleigh particle and ray optics approximations, we found that immobilization time is only linearly related to the incident laser power ≤40 mW, and at higher laser powers cw laser is more efficient than fs laser pulses to immobilize the particle. This finding means that the dynamics of the particle in this size region is still affected by the strong transient force fields induced by high-repetition-rate ultrashort pulse train as usually observed for Rayleigh particles. This may provide an understanding that the dynamics of the target particle in the trapping site is size- and laser mode-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2392-2399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Feb 2016

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