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Optical trapping of sub-10nm particles using plasmonic coaxial apertures

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Stanford researchers have designed a powerful plasmonic coaxial aperture as a low-power optical trap for nanosized specimens a regime that is inaccessible with the other designs. This device can stably trap dielectric particles smaller than 10 nm in diameter while keeping the trapping power level below 100 mW. By tapering the thickness of the coaxial dielectric channel trapping can be extended to sub-2-nm particles. This design also traps particles at the surface of the aperture rather than inside it. Thus enabling further manipulation and processing on the trapped particle. Such capability would allow for optical trapping and manipulation of single proteins such as enzymes and may provide a path toward trapping of single molecules such as glucose. They have demonstrated that coaxial apertures with a 25 nm silica channel can trap particles as small as 5 nm while keeping the required power below 100 mW. Applications: 1) Trapping and detection of nanoscale particulate air pollutants 2) Manipulation of single quantum emitters proteins or small molecules 3) Optical filters for sub-10-nm particles 4) Nanomaterial synthesis and nanostructure assembly 5) Lab-on-chip products 6) Sensors and filter component

Benefits:

1) Trapping of sub-10-nm particles - potentially as small as 2 nm particles 2) Low optical trapping power - less than 100 mW theoretically 20 mW 3) Easy fabrication method 4) Accessibility of trapped particle - the particle is trapped at the surface of the aperture rather than inside it 5) Flexible design - can be integrated into an optical fiber tip or patterned over a thin metal film to allow for parallel trapping

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