Optical trapping with structured light: a review

Yuanjie Yang*, Yu-Xuan Ren*, Mingzhou Chen*, Yoshihiko Arita, Carmelo Rosales-Guzmán*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

384 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Optical trapping describes the interaction between light and matter to manipulate micro-objects through momentum transfer. In the case of 3D trapping with a single beam, this is termed optical tweezers. Optical tweezers are a powerful and noninvasive tool for manipulating small objects, and have become indispensable in many fields, including physics, biology, soft condensed matter, among others. In the early days, optical trapping was typically accomplished with a single Gaussian beam. In recent years, we have witnessed rapid progress in the use of structured light beams with customized phase, amplitude, and polarization in optical trapping. Unusual beam properties, such as phase singularities on-axis and propagation invariant nature, have opened up novel capabilities to the study of micromanipulation in liquid, air, and vacuum. We summarize the recent advances in the field of optical trapping using structured light beams.
Original languageEnglish
Article number034001
Number of pages40
JournalAdvanced Photonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2021


  • Optical trapping
  • Structured beams
  • Vortex beam
  • Optical angular momentum


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