Coherent oscillations of a birefringent microsphere in vacuum optical traps

Yoshihiko Arita, Stephen H. Simpson, Pavel Zemánek, Kishan Dholakia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


When particles are held in optical tweezers, we assume that they are in thermal equilibrium, in which the equipartition of energy determines the position variance of optically trapped spheres. Here we show that this condition only holds for very high symmetry cases, e.g. perfectly isotropic particles in unaberrated, linearly polarized Gaussian traps. We report an experimental observation that when a birefringent microsphere is held in a linearly polarised Gaussian optical trap in vacuum, spontaneous oscillations emerge that grow rapidly in amplitude and become increasingly coherent as the air pressure is reduced. Furthermore, when parametrically driven, these self-sustained oscillators exhibit an ultrahigh mechanical quality factor > 2 x 108, which can be highly sensitive to external purtabations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Manipulation and Structured Materials Conference 2020
EditorsTakashige Omatsu, Kishan Dholakia, Hajime Ishihara, Keiji Sasaki
ISBN (Electronic)9781510638518
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventOptical Manipulation and Structured Materials Conference 2020 - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 2020 Apr 202020 Apr 24

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptical Manipulation and Structured Materials Conference 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the support from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/030017/1) and Czech Science Agency (GA19-17765S).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 SPIE.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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