The optical processes involved in laser trapping and optical manipulation are explored theoretically and experimentally as a means of activating a micrometer-size gear structure. We modeled the structure by using an enhanced ray-optics technique, and results indicate that the torque present on the gear can induce the gear to rotate about the gear-arm plane center with light as the driving energy source. We confirmed these findings experimentally by using gears manufactured with conventional semiconductor techniques and from a layer of polyimide. It is expected that such a simple gear design activated by use of light could lead to an entire new class of micro-optical–electromechanical systems.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
Robert C. Gauthier, R. Niall Tait, Howard Mende, and Chris Pawlowicz, "Optical Selection, Manipulation, Trapping, and Activation of a Microgear Structure for Applications in Micro-Optical-Electromechanical Systems," Appl. Opt. 40, 930-937 (2001)