Light-driven three-dimensional rotational motion of dandelion-shaped microparticles

Hagay Shpaisman, David B. Ruffner, David G. Grier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Chemically synthesized colloidal particles featuring large-scale surface asperities can be trapped and manipulated in fluid media through holographic optical trapping. Light scattering by these particles' surface features provides a mechanism for holographic optical traps also to exert torques on them, thereby setting them in steady rotation about arbitrary axes in three dimensions. When pairs of rotating particles are brought close enough that their surface features mesh, they form microscopic gear trains. These micro-opto-mechanical systems can be arranged in any desired three-dimensional configuration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number071103
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Kazem Edmond for his assistance with graphics. We acknowledge use of the NYU Electron Microscopy Facility, which was supported in part by the NSF MRSEC program through Award No. DMR-0923251. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation through Award No. DMR-0922680 and in part by a grant from Procter and Gamble.


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