Plasmon nano-optical tweezers


Conventional optical tweezers, formed at the diffraction-limited focus of a laser beam, have become a powerful and flexible tool for manipulating micrometre-sized objects. Extending optical trapping down to the nanometre scale would open unprecedented opportunities in many fields of science, where such nano-optical tweezers would allow the ultra-accurate positioning of single nano-objects. Among the possible strategies, the ability of metallic nanostructures to control light at the subwavelength scale can be exploited to engineer such nano-optical traps. This Review summarizes the recent advances in the emerging field of plasmon-based optical trapping and discusses the details of plasmon tweezers along with their potential applications to bioscience and quantum optics.

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Figure 1: Conventional optical trapping versus surface plasmon trapping.
Figure 2: SP-based microtrapping.
Figure 3: Antenna trapping.
Figure 4: Plasmonic nanotrapping based on a trap–specimen interaction.
Figure 5: SIBA trapping.
Figure 6: Future outlook and applications.


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This work was partially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Sciences under grants FIS2010-14834 and, the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme under grant FP7-ICT-248835 (SPEDOC) and Fundació privada CELLEX

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Correspondence to Romain Quidant.

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Juan, M., Righini, M. & Quidant, R. Plasmon nano-optical tweezers. Nature Photon 5, 349–356 (2011).

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