Optical Trapping of Small Particles

  • Alexander Rohrbach
  • Jan Huisken
  • Ernst H. K. Stelzer
Part of the Springer Series in Optical Sciences book series (SSOS, volume 87)


That light carries momentum and that it can exert forces when being reflected or refracted had already been postulated by Kepler in the 17th century. He tried to explain the phenomenon that comet tails always point away from the sun. Later, Sir William Crookes suggested that light pressure was responsible for the rotation of a light mill. The light mill consists of four vanes, which are blackened on one side and silvered on the other. The vanes are attached to the arms of a rotor, which is balanced on a vertical support and turns with very little friction. The light mill can be encased in a glass bulb with a high, but not perfect, vacuum. When light shines on the apparatus, the vanes rotate. Crookes was wrong, however, to attribute the rotation to the transfer of the photons’ momentum: in fact it is a heating effect [1]. Although both Kepler and Crookes were mistaken, they were nevertheless among the first to deal with the phenomenon of light pressure.


Gradient Force Trap Particle Optical Trap Optical Force Trapping Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Rohrbach
  • Jan Huisken
  • Ernst H. K. Stelzer

There are no affiliations available

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