Optical trapping of nanoparticles by ultrashort laser pulses

Anwar Usman*, Wei Yi Chiang, Hiroshi Masuhara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Optical trapping with continuous-wave lasers has been a fascinating field in the optical manipulation. It has become a powerful tool for manipulating micrometer-sized objects, and has been widely applied in physics, chemistry, biology, material, and colloidal science. Replacing the continuous-wave- with pulsed-mode laser in optical trapping has already revealed some novel phenomena, including the stable trap, modifiable trapping positions, and controllable directional ejections of particles in nanometer scales. Due to two distinctive features; impulsive peak powers and relaxation time between consecutive pulses, the optical trapping with the laser pulses has been demonstrated to have some advantages over conventional continuous-wave lasers, particularly when the particles are within Rayleigh approximation. This would open unprecedented opportunities in both fundamental science and application. This Review summarizes recent advances in the optical trapping with laser pulses and discusses the electromagnetic formulations and physical interpretations of the new phenomena. Its aim is rather to show how beautiful and promising this field will be, and to encourage the in-depth study of this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalScience Progress
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • Attractive and repulsive optical forces
  • Continuous-wave lasers
  • Geometrical-optics and Mie regimes
  • Laser pulses
  • Microand nano-sized particles
  • Optical Lorentz force
  • Optical manipulation
  • Optical trapping
  • Rayleigh approximation

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