Exploring the limit of multiplexed near-field optical trapping

Donato Conteduca, Giuseppe Brunetti, Giampaolo Pitruzzello, Francesco Tragni, Kishan Dholakia, Thomas F. Krauss, Caterina Ciminelli

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Optical trapping has revolutionized our understanding of biology by manipulating cells and single molecules using optical forces. Moving to the near-field creates intense field gradients to trap very smaller particles, such as DNA fragments, viruses, and vesicles. The next frontier for such optical nanotweezers in biomedical applications is to trap multiple particles and to study their heterogeneity. To this end, we have studied dielectric metasurfaces that allow the parallel trapping of multiple particles. We have explored the requirements for such metasurfaces and introduce a structure that allows the trapping of a large number of nanoscale particles (>1000) with a very low total power P < 26 mW. We experimentally demonstrate the near-field enhancement provided by the metasurface and simulate its trapping performance. We have optimized the metasurface for the trapping of 100 nm diameter particles, which will open up opportunities for new biological studies on viruses and extracellular vesicles, such as studying heterogeneity, or to massively parallelize analyses for drug discovery.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2021


  • Optical nanotweezers
  • Multiple trapping
  • Dielectric metasurface
  • Near-field trapping
  • Nanophotonics
  • Anapole modes


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