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Controlling dispersion forces between small particles with artificially created random light fields

  • Brügger, Georges Department of Physics, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Froufe-Pérez, Luis S. Department of Physics, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Scheffold, Frank Department of Physics, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Sáenz, Juan José Depto. de Física de la Materia Condensada, Instituto Nicolás Cabrera and Condensed Matter Physics Center (IFIMAC), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
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Published in:
  • Nature Communications. - 2015, vol. 6, p. 7460
English Appropriate combinations of laser beams can be used to trap and manipulate small particles with optical tweezers as well as to induce significant optical binding forces between particles. These interaction forces are usually strongly anisotropic depending on the interference landscape of the external fields. This is in contrast with the familiar isotropic, translationally invariant, van der Waals and, in general, Casimir–Lifshitz interactions between neutral bodies arising from random electromagnetic waves generated by equilibrium quantum and thermal fluctuations. Here we show, both theoretically and experimentally, that dispersion forces between small colloidal particles can also be induced and controlled using artificially created fluctuating light fields. Using optical tweezers as a gauge, we present experimental evidence for the predicted isotropic attractive interactions between dielectric microspheres induced by laser-generated, random light fields. These light-induced interactions open a path towards the control of translationally invariant interactions with tuneable strength and range in colloidal systems.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Physique
  • English
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