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Photokinetic Effects: The leap from optical tweezers to practical tractor beams

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • Engineering Building Room ECCR 105

Speaker Name(s): 

David Grier

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

New York University
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • COSI Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

The recently developed theory of photokinetic effects reveals how variations in the amplitude, phase and polarization of light exert forces and torques on illuminated objects. Realized through the technique of holographic optical trapping, predictions of this theoryhave yielded the first experimental demonstration of a knotted force field and, more recently, the first practical realization of a tractor beam, a propagation-invariant traveling wave that can transport illuminated objects back to its source. This talk introduces the theory of photokinetic effects and shows how the interplay of theory and experiment has been facilitating increasingly sophisticated optical force fields. This culminates inthe development of optical solenoid beams, a previously unrecognized complete set of propagation-invariant modes of light, some of whose members act as tractor beams for micrometer-scale objects.