Project Duration: 6 weeks

Hours of Engagement: 36

Project Description: 

Optical tweezers are a highly versatile tool for exploration of the mesoscopic world, permitting non-contact manipulation of nanoscale objects. However, direct illumination with intense lasers restricts their use with live biological specimens and limits the types of materials that can be trapped. We propose to use hydrodynamic forces to exert nanoscale-precision control over aqueous particles, without directly illuminating them. Our idea is to use closed-loop control to impart spin angular momentum to birefringent particles creating highly localised flow-fields that precisely pilot cargo using the motion of optically trapped micro-rotors. We want to investigate the primary (controlled movement) and potential secondary effects (unknown, e.g., translational—rotational coupling, multiple particle hydrodynamic coupling) on particles moved in such flow fields. The project will expose the successful applicant to cutting edge physical optics techniques and optical micromanipulation apparatus.

Expected Outcomes:

The scholar may gain skills in laboratory work concerning optics, understanding of laser micromanipulation process and light matter interaction. The results of the work could lead to publication giving the scholar opportunity to generate a publication. The scholar will be asked to present her/his work to the other members of the Optical Micromanipulation Group.

Suitable for:

Interest in physics and some background in physics.

Contact for further information:

Dr Alexander Stilgoe:

Project members

Dr Alexander Stilgoe

Research Fellow
School of Mathematics and Physics

Professor Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop

School of Mathematics and Physics