OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 13, Iss. 2 — Jan. 24, 2005
  • pp: 526–533

Optical analysis of nanoparticles via enhanced backscattering facilitated by 3-D photonic nanojets

Xu Li, Zhigang Chen, Allen Taflove, and Vadim Backman  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 13, Issue 2, pp. 526-533 (2005)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (619 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We report the phenomenon of ultra-enhanced backscattering of visible light by nanoparticles facilitated by the 3-D photonic nanojet – a sub-diffraction light beam appearing at the shadow side of a plane-wave-illuminated dielectric microsphere. Our rigorous numerical simulations show that backscattering intensity of nanoparticles can be enhanced up to eight orders of magnitude when locating in the nanojet. As a result, the enhanced backscattering from a nanoparticle with diameter on the order of 10 nm is well above the background signal generated by the dielectric microsphere itself. We also report that nanojet-enhanced backscattering is extremely sensitive to the size of the nanoparticle, permitting in principle resolving sub-nanometer size differences using visible light. Finally, we show how the position of a nanoparticle could be determined with subdiffractional accuracy by recording the angular distribution of the backscattered light. These properties of photonic nanojets promise to make this phenomenon a useful tool for optically detecting, differentiating, and sorting nanoparticles.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(170.0170) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical optics and biotechnology
(290.1350) Scattering : Backscattering
(290.5850) Scattering : Scattering, particles

ToC Category:
Research Papers

Original Manuscript: November 22, 2004
Revised Manuscript: January 11, 2005
Published: January 24, 2005

Xu Li, Zhigang Chen, Allen Taflove, and Vadim Backman, "Optical analysis of nanoparticles via enhanced backscattering facilitated by 3-D photonic nanojets," Opt. Express 13, 526-533 (2005)

Sort:  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. L. E. Helseth and T. M. Fischer, "Cooperative microlenses," Opt. Express 12, 3428-3435 (2004). <a Href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-15-3428">http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-15-3428</a> [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. M. Mosbacher, H. J. Munzer, J. Zimmermann, J. Solis, J. Boneberg, and P. Leiderer, "Optical field enhancement effects in laser-assisted particle removal," Appl. Phys. A 72, 41-44 (2001). [CrossRef]
  3. D. A. Fletcher, K. E. Goodson, and G. S. Kino, "Focusing in microlenses close to a wavelength in diameter," Opt. Lett. 26, 399-401 (2001). [CrossRef]
  4. Z. Chen, A. Taflove, and V. Backman, "Photonic nanojet enhancement of backscattering of light by nanoparticles: a potential novel visible-light ultramicroscopy technique," Opt. Express 12, 1214-1220 (2004). <a href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-7-1214">http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-7-1214</a> [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. P. Chylek, J. D. Pendleton, and R. G. Pinnick, "Internal and near-surface scattered field of a spherical-particle at resonant conditions," Appl. Opt. 24, 3940-3942 (1985). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. D. S. Benincasa, P. W. Barber, J. Z. Zhang, W. F. Hsieh, and R. K. Chang, "Spatial-distribution of the internal and near-field intensities of large cylindrical and spherical scatterers," Appl. Opt. 26, 1348-1356 (1987). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. C. F. Bohren and D. R. Huffman, Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles (Wiley, New York, 1983).
  8. R. T. Wang and H. C. van de Hulst, "Rainbows: Mie computations and the Airy approximation," Appl. Opt. 30, 106-117 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. C. Liang and Y. T. Lo, "Scattering by 2 Spheres," Radio Sci. 2, 1481-& (1967).
  10. Y. L. Xu and R. T. Wang, "Electromagnetic scattering by an aggregate of spheres: Theoretical and experimental study of the amplitude scattering matrix," Phys. Rev. E 58, 3931-3948 (1998). [CrossRef]
  11. <a href= "http://www.astro.ufl.edu/~xu/">http://www.astro.ufl.edu/~xu/</a.
  12. P.B. Johnson, R.W. Christy, "Optical constants of the noble metals," Phys. Rev. B 6, 4370-4379 (1972). [CrossRef]
  13. V. Backman, V. Gopal, M. Kalashnikov, K. Badizadegan, R. Gurjar, A. Wax, I. Georgakoudi, M. Mueller, C. W. Boone, R. R. Dasari, and M. S. Feld, "Measuring cellular structure at submicrometer scale with light scattering spectroscopy," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 7, 887-893 (2001). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited