Light induced separation and flow of microscopic and biological particles

Graham Milne*, Lynn Paterson, David McGloin, Andrew Riches, Kishan Dholakia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Optical micro-manipulation has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years which has been due in part to new application areas and the use of tailored forms of light beam. In this paper, experimental observations of fluctuation-driven transport of silica microspheres within a two-dimensional optical potential of circular symmetry are observed. The potential is created by a Bessel light beam. The optical field is tailored to break the symmetry and create a static tilted periodic (washboard) potential. Transitions between locked and running modes may be observed. The running mode manifests itself by rapid accumulation of particles at the beam centre. We discuss what happens with mixtures of particles in such an optical potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2005
EventNanomanipulation with Light - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 25 Jan 200526 Jan 2005


  • Bessel beams
  • Kramers theory
  • Optical fractionation
  • Optical trapping
  • Optical tweezers


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