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Pulling and pushing by synergy of optical force and photophoretic force
1  College of Optical Science and Engineering Zhejiang University


Light-induced pulling is of significant interests recently since it provides a new understanding of the light-matter interaction, which can be achieved by optical force or photophoretic force. For optical force, it comes from momentum exchange during the light-matter interaction, which has been widely utilized to manipulate microscopic objects mostly in vacuum or in liquids. While photophoretic force, coming from light-induced thermal effect, has emerged as a more effective way to transport light-absorbing particles in ambient gases. In all these cases, optical force and photophoretic force are used to manipulate objects independently, as working in different environments. In fact, optical force and photothermal force can come together in a subtle style. Here, by employing the synergy of optical force and photophoretic force, we propose and experimentally demonstrate a configuration which can drive a micron-size metallic plate moving back and forth on a tapered fiber with supercontinuum light in ambient air. Optical pulling and oscillation of the metallic plate are experimentally realized. The experiment results of light-induced oscillation will definitely trigger many future theoretical and experimental developments and extensive applications, of which typical example includes energy conversion from light energy to mechanical energy. Due to the extremely simple configuration, it can be used as a micro-transport system for a miniature chemical processing device called a lab-on-a-chip expediently. This study could offer a deeper understanding of a diversified light-matter interaction, open up new avenues for pluralistic optical manipulation including optical control and sensing, and inspire many researches on optical driving (e.g. light-driven motor).

  1. Lu, H. Yang, L. Zhou, Y. Yang, S. Luo, Q. Li, and M. Qiu, Phys. Rev. Letters 118, 043601 (2017).