Abstract

Optical tools for manipulation and trapping of micro- and nano-objects are a fundamental issue for many applications in nano- and biotechnology. This work reports on the use of one such method, known as photovoltaic optoelectronics tweezers, to orientate and organize cylindrical microcrystals, specifically elongated zeolite L, on the surface of Fe-doped LiNbO3 crystal plates. Patterns of aligned zeolites have been achieved through the forces and torques generated by the bulk photovoltaic effect. The alignment patterns with zeolites parallel or perpendicular to the substrate surface are highly dependent on the features of light distribution and crystal configuration. Moreover, dielectrophoretic chains of zeolites with lengths up to 100 μm have often been observed. The experimental results of zeolite trapping and alignment have been discussed and compared together with theoretical simulations of the evanescent photovoltaic electric field and the dielectrophoretic potential. They demonstrate the remarkable capabilities of the optoelectronic photovoltaic method to orientate and pattern anisotropic microcrystals. The combined action of patterning and alignment offers a unique tool to prepare functional nanostructures with potential applications in a variety of fields such as nonlinear optics or plasmonics.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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