Using the three dimensional finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method, we calculate the radiation force from an incident plane wave on both dielectric and absorbing particles in the Lorentz–Mie regime via the Maxwell stress tensor approach. We find that the radiation force changes with particle permittivity, and we categorize the force into three regions: increasing, fluctuating, and constant. We discuss how particle size, shape, orientation and absorption affect the radiation force. A nanoscale solar sail is proposed based on our calculation. A detailed understanding of the optical force of a plane wave on particles in the Lorentz–Mie regime is fundamental for designing nanoscale solar sail systems and optical traps from a set of interfering plane waves.
© 2009 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: March 25, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: July 17, 2009
Published: September 11, 2009
Lin Jia and Edwin L. Thomas, "Radiation forces on dielectric and absorbing particles studied via the finite-difference time-domain method," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 26, 1882-1891 (2009)