May The “Optical Force” Be With You
by: CBS Inc.
Views: 201
04 May 2022

May The “Optical Force” Be With You

What is the “optical force”?

“Optical force” is a phenomenon whereby beams of light can attract and repel each other, or to manipulate micro-particles. Optical forces act perpendicular to the light beams, because of this, parallel beams can be induced to converge or diverge; or particles can encounter lateral forces which have applications in biosensing, quantum physics, etc. 

Silicon Nanophotonics

Silicon nanophotonics offers a way to implement significant optical forces by tightly confining the light in a sub-wavelength optical waveguide structure cavity or a micro ring resonator. 

The evanescent field from the light in the waveguide or ring resonator exchanges momentum with a nearby particle - for example located in a bus waveguide. The particle can then be pushed by the radiation pressure or trapped inside the potential well.

The high index of the silicon structures allow confinement of the light in subwavelength structures such as the resonant cavity of the micro ring resonator or nanostructure / cavity enhancing optical forces due to the strong photon resonance of e.g. the whispering gallery mode. The tighter the confinement, the higher the peak intensity, and therefore the larger optical force can be produced by the evanescent field.

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