In 1986, Arthur Ashkin and colleagues published a seminal paper in Optics Letters, ‘Observation of a single-beam gradient force optical trap for dielectric particles’ which outlined a technique for trapping micrometre-sized dielectric particles using a focused laser beam, a technology which is now termed optical tweezers. This paper will provide a background in optical manipulation technologies and an overview of the applications of optical tweezers. It contains some recent work on the optical manipulation of aerosols and concludes with a critical discussion of where the future might lead this maturing technology.
One contribution of 23 to a Triennial Issue ‘Mathematics and physics’.
- © 2006 The Royal Society