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Controlled spin of a nonbirefringent droplet trapped in an optical vortex beam

Journal article
Authors M. Ivanov
Dag Hanstorp
Published in Optics Communications
Volume 427
Pages 152-157
ISSN 0030-4018
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 152-157
Language en
Keywords Optical vortices and phase singularities, Optical trapping and manipulation, Angular momentum of, orbital angular-momentum, manipulation, particles, light, Optics
Subject categories Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics


The spin part of the angular momentum of light can cause a birefringent particle to spin around its axis, while having no effect on a nonbirefringent particle. The orbital part of light's angular momentum, on the other hand, can cause both birefringent and nonbirefringent particles to orbit around the axis of a light beam. In this paper, we demonstrate that nonbirefringent particles can also be made to spin around their axis when trapped in an optical vortex beam. The rotation of the particle depends on the ratio of the size of the particle and the diameter of the laser beam in which the particle is trapped. It can therefore be controlled by varying the position of the particle with respect to the focal point of the laser beam. The rotational frequency can also be controlled by changing the polarization state of the beam, since spin-orbit coupling affects the total angular momentum experienced by the trapped particle. The motion of the trapped particle is detected by a photodiode and a high-speed camera. Most microparticles found in nature are nonbirefringent, and the method presented in this paper will therefore open up new applications for optically induced rotations.

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