New Optical Tweezing Method Can Move Particles Only 2 Nanometers in Size
December 5, 2012 7:39 PM
comment(s) - last by
New aperture design (left) with two layers of silver separated by another of silicon dioxide
(Source: Stanford School of Engineering)
The new method is a plasmonic trap, which uses the optical/electronic characteristics of metals to move particles with light
A new method of optical tweezing can
as small as 2 nanometers with the use of light.
A team of Stanford researchers, led by Amr Saleh and Jennifer Dione, is responsible for the new technique. While optical tweezing itself isn't new, the ability to move particles as small as 2 nanometers (and potentially just a few atoms in size) is.
Optical tweezing involves a beam of light, which is shaped into a narrow point for a strong electromagnetic field. This beam attracts tiny particles, bacteria, etc. and allows them to be moved around as if they were manipulated by tweezers.
The problem is that optical tweezing is that it "breaks down" for objects much smaller than the wavelength of light, meaning it can't pick up super small objects that are only a few nanometers or less. But now, Stanford's new optical tweezing technique has been able to move particles as small a 2 nanometers.
The new method is a
, which uses the optical and electronic characteristics of metals to move particles with light. When light waves meet these mobile electrons, they move and bend the light into plasmon-polaritons, which are electromagnetic waves. With their short wavelength (compared to visible light), they can trap small objects with a much firmer handle. In normal cases involving visible light, the diffraction limit of light makes it so the smallest space for trapping a particle is half the wavelength of the light beam. This means that trying to trap a particle that is 2 nanometers would require a space of 200 nanometers, offering loose control.
On top of the new gripping method, the scientists created an aperture that acts like coaxial cables to effectively focus the light. It's able to do this thanks to a silver coating within a thin layer of silicon dioxide, and both coatings are wrapped in an outer layer of silver. When light enters this ring of silicon dioxide, plasmons are produced where the silicon dioxide and silver meet. The plasmons then move along the aperture and come out of the other end as a more focused beam of light.
This could one day move tiny particles within living cells.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Queue the tiny e-penis jokes.
12/6/2012 9:21:16 AM
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
New Plasmonic Nanotweezers Used to Grab Tiny Parts Inside a Cell
September 27, 2011, 3:03 PM
Acoustic Tweezers Developed to Move Living Cells
August 31, 2009, 11:30 AM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Fraud Artist Engineered Stunning UK Jailbreak Via Typosquatting, Email
April 4, 2015, 2:57 PM
Food Chemists at Italy's Barilla Claim to Have Perfect Instant Noodles w/out Frying
March 26, 2015, 4:25 PM
Most Popular Articles
Worst Kept Secret -- $35 Million Anonymous Sharing App Startup Shuts Down
April 30, 2015, 7:33 AM
Microsoft "Welcomes Developers" to Its New "Edge Browser" (Codename: Spartan)
April 29, 2015, 7:25 PM
China's Tencent Gets in on the Kardashian Empire w/ $126 Million Glu Investment
April 30, 2015, 8:28 AM
Windows 10 Build 10061: A Quick Review
April 27, 2015, 10:57 AM
Report: Apple Pulls the Plug on Apple Watch Store Launch
April 16, 2015, 3:18 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information