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Nature Publishing Group journal: Light: Science & Applications
Researchers have developed a way of accelerating microscopic particles to high speeds using light beams. Vasily Astratov and colleagues, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the USA, in collaboration with researchers from Russia and the UK, have shown theoretically and experimentally that a spherical particle whose circumference matches an integer multiple of the wavelength of the light experiences significantly stronger optical force compared to that felt by a slightly larger or smaller particle. In experiments with micrometre-sized polystyrene particles, spheres in resonance with the light beam travelled through water up to ten times faster than those of other sizes, thanks to their enhanced ability to trap and subsequently scatter light. This effect could be useful for sorting particles according to their resonances or sizes and for other optical manipulation schemes.
On the photo: Yangcheng Li, first co-author, Catherine Wang, Manager of Journal Light: Science & Applications, and Vasily Astratov