Counter-propagating beams have enabled the first stable three-dimensional optical trapping of microparticles and this procedure has been enhanced and developed over the years to achieve independent and interactive manipulation of multiple particles. In this work, we analyse counter-propagating shaped-beam traps that depart from the conventional geometry based on symmetric, coaxial counter-propagating beams. We show that projecting shaped beams with separation distances previously considered axially unstable can, in fact, enhance the axial and transverse trapping stiffnesses. We also show that deviating from using perfectly counter-propagating beams to use oblique beams can improve the axial stability of the traps and improve the axial trapping stiffness. These alternative geometries can be particularly useful for handling larger particles. These results hint at a rich potential for light shaping for optical trapping and manipulation using patterned counter-propagating beams, which still remains to be fully tapped.
Bibliographical noteSome figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version
- Optical systems
- Optical trapping and manipulation