Optical manipulation of nanoparticles: A review

Maria Dienerowitz, Michael Mazilu, Kishan Dholakia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Optical trapping is an established field for movement of micron-size objects and cells. However, trapping of metal nanoparticles, nanowires, nanorods and molecules has received little attention. Nanoparticles are more challenging to optically trap and they offer ample new phenomena to explore, for example the plasmon resonance. Resonance and size effects have an impact upon trapping forces that causes nanoparticle trapping to differ from micromanipulation of larger micron-sized objects. There are numerous theoretical approaches to calculate optical forces exerted on trapped nanoparticles. Their combination and comparison gives the reader deeper understanding of the physical processes in an optical trap. A close look into the key experiments to date demonstrates the feasibility of trapping and provides a grasp of the enormous possibilities that remain to be explored. When constructing a single-beam optical trap, particular emphasis has to be placed on the choice of imaging for the trapping and confinement of nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number010803
JournalSPIE Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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