Abstract

Back-focal-plane interferometry is a method capable of determining the three-dimensional position of a particle with high precision (<3 nm) at high sampling rates (1 MHz). We investigated theoretically the performance of such a system for dielectric spheres with diameters D=0.533 µm and for metallic spheres with D300 nm. Good sensitivity and linearity were achieved for a detection angular aperture sinα of no more than 0.5. A value of sinα>0.7 should be used only for dielectric spheres with diameters approximately equal to the laser wavelength. Harmonic optical traps can be calibrated by measurement of the thermal motion of the sphere. We performed Brownian dynamics simulations and subsequent thermal noise analyses to prove that the wrong sinα incorrectly suggests an increased and nonharmonic axial trapping potential.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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