Manipulating and Characterizing Nanoscale Particles using Near-Field Optical Forces
O'Dell, Dakota Lee
In the three decades since the development of optical tweezers, optical trapping has become an invaluable technique for particle manipulation and is used widely in biology as well as material science. In more recent years, there has been a significant effort to integrate optical traps directly with microfluidics on-chip to produce stronger optical forces and manipulate even smaller particles. This is often achieved through the use of near-field forces produced by subwavelength optical confinement. By leveraging techniques and designs from photonics, near-field optics can generate very strong piconewton forces that act over nanometer length scales. This dissertation aims to exploit these unique features of near-field optical forces-- their strength, tunability, and precise localization-- to build new nanostructures, develop new optical spectroscopy techniques, and probe the fundamental nature of particles and their interactions on the nanoscale. In the first half of this work, I focus on using optical gradient forces to drive the assembly of hybrid photonic-plasmonic resonators and using the amplified forces from these resonators to trap, manipulate, and bind other nanoparticles. These resonators are then used to optically drive the adsorption of individual proteins as a way of measuring the activation energy barrier of those adsorption reactions. While colloidal nanoparticles are critical in a wide range of fields and industries, there is still no reliable theoretical framework to describe their behavior in realistic solution conditions. This issue is compounded by the difficulty of directly measuring nanoscale particles with conventional optical tools. In the latter half of this work, I have demonstrated that near-field optical forces, which operate at similar magnitudes and length scales as colloidal forces, can be used to study the properties of nanoparticles directly. By applying a known optical force to a particle with an optical waveguide, the size and properties of the particle can be extracted from its dynamic response to that applied force. This technique leverages the unique advantages of localized optical forces and allows for direct measurement of single nanoparticles at high throughput. Combined with the previous section on binding and assembly, this dissertation lays the groundwork for future work on near-field optical forces which has great potential for improving our understanding of physics at the nanoscale.
characterization; nanoparticle; near-field optics; optical force; particle size; photonics; Optics; Nanotechnology; Nanoscience
Zipfel, Warren R; Craighead, Harold G
Ph. D., Applied Physics
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis