Design of a high-performance optical tweezer for nanoparticle trapping

D. Conteduca, Francesco Dell'Olio, C. Ciminelli*, T. F. Krauss, M. N. Armenise

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated optical nanotweezers offer a novel paradigm for optical trapping, as their ability to confine light at the nanoscale leads to extremely high gradient forces. To date, nanotweezers have been realized either as photonic crystal or as plasmonic nanocavities. Here, we propose a nanotweezer device based on a hybrid photonic/plasmonic cavity with the goal of achieving a very high quality factor-to-mode volume (Q/V) ratio. The structure includes a 1D photonic crystal dielectric cavity vertically coupled to a bowtie nanoantenna. A very high Q/V ~ 107(λ/n)−3with a resonance transmission T = 29 % at λR = 1381.1 nm has been calculated by 3D finite element method, affording strong light–matter interaction and making the hybrid cavity suitable for optical trapping. A maximum optical force F = −4.4 pN, high values of stability S = 30 and optical stiffness k = 90 pN/nm W have been obtained with an input power Pin = 1 mW, for a polystyrene nanoparticle with a diameter of 40 nm. This performance confirms the high efficiency of the optical nanotweezer and its potential for trapping living matter at the nanoscale, such as viruses, proteins and small bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number295
JournalApplied Physics A
Early online date7 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


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