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Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Editor: Henry van Driel
  • Vol. 28, Iss. 12 — Dec. 1, 2011
  • pp: 2856–2864

Modeling of optical traps for aerosols

Daniel R. Burnham and David McGloin  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 28, Issue 12, pp. 2856-2864 (2011)

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Experimental observations suggest that there are differences between the behavior of particles optically trapped in air and trapped in a liquid phase. We have modified the Mie–Debye spherical aberration theory to numerically simulate an aerosol optical trap in an attempt to explain and predict the differences. The model incorporates Mie scattering and a trapping beam focused through media of stratified refractive index. We show that geometrical optics cannot correctly describe the aerosol optical trap and that spherical aberration must be included. We qualitatively explain the observed phenomena before discussing the limits of the experimental techniques and methods to improve it. We conclude that the system does not behave as a true “optical tweezers,” varying between levitation and single beam gradient force trapping, depending on particle and beam parameters.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1110) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Aerosols
(350.4855) Other areas of optics : Optical tweezers or optical manipulation

ToC Category:
Optical Trapping and Tweezing

Original Manuscript: June 17, 2011
Revised Manuscript: September 12, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: September 12, 2011
Published: November 11, 2011

Virtual Issues
Vol. 7, Iss. 2 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
November 11, 2011 Spotlight on Optics

Daniel R. Burnham and David McGloin, "Modeling of optical traps for aerosols," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 28, 2856-2864 (2011)

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