Simulations of optical lift

SH Simpson, GA Jr Swarzlander, S Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In a recent article [Swartzlander et al. Nature Photonics, 5, 4851 (2010)], the optical analogue of conventional, aerodynamic lift was experimentally demonstrated. When exposed to quasi-plane wave illumination, a dielectric hemicylinder rotates into a stable configuration in which its cylindrical axis is perpendicular to the direction of propagation and its flat surface angled to it. In this configuration the body forces experienced by the particle contain a component perpendicular to the momentum flux of the incident field. This phenomenon can be meaningfully termed "optical lift", and the hemicylinder acts as a "light foil". Here, we present rigorous, full wave vector simulations of this effect for light foils of varying dimensions and composition. We investigate the general form of the forces and torques experienced by light foils, as a function of their orientation. The influence of the linear dimensions and the refractive indices of the hemicylinders is also investigated.
Translated title of the contributionSimulations of optical lift
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809718
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Name and Venue of Conference: Conference on Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII, San Diego, CA
Conference Organiser: SPIE


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