Introduction to Optical Trapping

  • Mike WoerdemannEmail author
Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)


Light that is reflected, refracted or absorbed by small particles in general undergoes a change in momentum. In turn, the particles experience an analogous change in momentum, i.e. a resulting force. It was demonstrated already more than 40 years ago that radiation pressure from a (laser) light source can accelerate microscopic particles. The historically most important insight, however, was that microscopic particles cannot only be pushed by the radiation pressure, but they can be at will confined in all three dimensions, leading to the powerful concept of optical tweezers. This chapter provides a short overview on the basic physical principles and concepts of optical trapping and reviews important milestones. While the focus of this overview will be on classical optical tweezers, related concepts and applications are discussed when beneficial for the understanding of the following chapters.


Radiation Pressure Orbital Angular Momentum Light Field Gradient Force Optical Tweezer 
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 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Applied PhysicsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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