Abstract

Holographic optical tweezing permits the trapping of objects with less than spherical symmetry in appropriately distributed sets of beams thereby permitting control to be exerted over both the orientation and position. In contrast to the familiar case of the singly trapped sphere, the stiffness and strength of such compound traps will have rotational components. We investigate this for a simple model system consisting of multiply trapped dielectric cylinder. Optically induced forces and torques are evaluated using the discrete dipole approximation and the resulting trap stiffnesses are presented. A variety of configurations of trapping beams are considered. Hydrodynamic resistances for the cylinder are also calculated and used to estimate translation and rotation rates. A number of conclusions are reached concerning the optimal trapping and dragging conditions for the rod. In particular, it is clear that it is advantageous to drag a rod in a direction perpendicular rather than parallel to its length. In addition, it is observed that the polarization of the incident light plays a significant role. Finally, it is noted that the non-conservative nature of the optical force field manifests itself directly in the stiffness of the trapped cylinder. The consequences of this last point are discussed.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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