Abstract

It is now well known, mainly due to the pioneering work of Ashkin et al.,1 that intense laser beams can exert substantial forces on dielectric matter. Perhaps the greatest impact of this work to date has been in the field of biology, where impressive examples of the manipulation of biological material with laser beams have been demonstrated.2 We deal with the elaboration of these concepts in the wave optical region and their application to the problem of assembling complex structures such as crystals and quasicrystals in complex optical fields. We discuss not only order imposed on matter by externally imposed optical fields but also the order achieved as a result of self-organization, epitomized by the simplest examples of optical binding achieved to date.3

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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