Metallic particles are generally considered difficult to trap due to strong scattering and absorption forces. In this paper, numerical studies show that optical tweezers using radial polarization can stably trap metallic particles in 3-dimension. The extremely strong axial component of a highly focused radially polarized beam provides a large gradient force. Meanwhile, this strong axial field component does not contribute to the Poynting vector along the optical axis. Consequently, it does not create axial scattering/absorption forces. Owing to the spatial separation of the gradient force and scattering/absorption forces, a stable 3-D optical trap for metallic particles can be formed.
© 2004 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article