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Optical Levitation of Micro-Scale Particles in AirSuccess has been achieved using a radiation pressure gradient to levitate microscale particles in air for as long as four hours. This work is performed as a precursor to the development of a vacuum based optical tweezers interrogation tool for nanotechnology research. It was decided to first proceed with solving the problem of achieving optical levitation of a micro-scale particle in air before trying the same in a vacuum environment. This successful optical levitation in air confirms the work of Ashkin and Dziedzic. Levitation of 10 and 13.8 microns diameter polystyrene spheres was achieved, as well as the levitation of 10 and 100 microns diameter glass spheres. Particles were raised and lowered. A modicum of success was achieved translating particles horizontally. Trapping of multiple particles in one laser beam has been photographed. Also, it has been observed that particles, that may be conglomerates or irregular in shape, can also be trapped by a focused laser beam. Levitated glass beads were photographed using laser light scattered from the beads. The fact that there is evidence of optical traps in air containing irregular and conglomerate particles provides hope that future tool particles need not be perfect spheres.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Wrbanek, Susan Y.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Weiland, Kenneth E.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 22-708-90-41
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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