Abstract

We study the axial force acting on dielectric spherical particles smaller than the trapping wavelength that are placed in the Gaussian standing wave. We derive analytical formulas for immersed particles with relative refractive indices close to unity and compare them with the numerical results obtained by generalized Lorenz–Mie theory (GLMT). We show that the axial optical force depends periodically on the particle size and that the equilibrium position of the particle alternates between the standing-wave antinodes and nodes. For certain particle sizes, gradient forces from the neighboring antinodes cancel each other and disable particle confinement. Using the GLMT we compare maximum axial trapping forces provided by the Gaussian standing-wave trap (SWT) and single-beam trap (SBT) as a function of particle size, refractive index, and beam waist size. We show that the SWT produces axial forces at least ten times stronger and permits particle confinement in a wider range of refractive indices and beam waists compared with those of the SBT.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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