Optical Binding in Complex Landscapes

Michael J O'Donnell, Simon Hanna*, Thomas Morling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


Optical binding occurs when light scattered from a microscopic particle induces forces on other microscopicparticles, which includes attractive, binding, forces. Since the original demonstration using dielectric spheres,there has been much interest in altering the shape and symmetry of the bound particles, leading to complexoptically driven behaviour typically involving uniform illumination in a restricted region e.g. an extended or linefocus or the axis of a Bessel beam. However, in the present computational study we consider confinement incomplex optical landscapes comprising one or many focussed beams. In this survey we will explore the behavioursof systems of spherical beads with various refractive indices, as well as systems of dimers, or dumbbells, consistingof pairs of linked spheres and active janus particles comprising pairs of beads with different refractive indices.The relative importance of optical trapping versus optical trapping between the particles will be assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023
EventSPIE Photonics West: Complex Light and Optical ForcesXVII - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 27 Jan 20231 Feb 2023


ConferenceSPIE Photonics West
Abbreviated titleSPIE OPTO
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge Arm Limited, the UK EPSRC and the School of Physics, University of Bristol for
financial support for M.J.O. and W.D. The authors are grateful to the University of Bristol Advanced Computing
Research Centre (http://acrc.bris.ac.uk/) for the provision of supercomputer resources.


  • Optical binding
  • Optical trapping
  • Discrete dipole approximation
  • Brownian dynamics
  • active particles


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