Abstract

We analyze the characteristics of the radiation force that is generated when a highly focused unpolarized Gaussian beam interacts with a nonabsorbing microsphere whose refractive index exhibits a first-order dependence on the beam intensity. The behavior of the force exerted on the sphere is analyzed as a function of beam power, axial distance, sphere radius, refractive-index difference between the sphere and the surrounding liquid, and wavelength. The force characteristics are compared with those of the radiation force that is generated when the electro-optic Kerr effect is absent. Our results show that a reversal in the net force direction is introduced when the Kerr effect becomes significant, which occurs at sufficiently high beam intensities.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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