It was recently demonstrated that low-index spherical dielectric particles could be stably trapped by use of a strongly focused stationary laser beam containing an optical vortex.1 Optical vortices have also been shown to improve the efficiency of gradient force traps, thus reducing damage to biological systems.2 Further, vortex beams are capable of transferring angular momentum to slightly absorbing trapped particles.3 In this paper we report the first observation, to our knowledge, of simultaneous trapping of both a low-index and high-index particle in a single beam. The offset between stable trapping positions for these two types of particles makes such a configuration possible for certain sized particles. We also report experimental measurements of the point of stable equilibrium for a low-index particle in an optical vortex trap.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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