Novel techniques for the optical control of microscopic aerosol particles over macroscopic length scales

A.E. Carruthers, J. B. Wills and J.P. Reid

Aerosol plays a key role in atmospheric physics and chemistry. Through the understanding of single aerosol droplets we can gain information that we may overlook when investigating bulk aerosol samples. Resolving finer detail of droplet interaction, composition, size, morphology and homogeneity can provide a comprehensive study of such particles. The development of optical trapping techniques over the past few decades has made them important tools in the study of single aerosol particles. Optical guiding has proven to be effective in the transportation and trapping of particles in both horizontal [1] and vertical [2] geometries. Stable arrangements of multiple particles can be created through the use of two such counter-propagating collinear optical guides [3]. In addition, so called optical binding can be enhanced through the use of novel beam shapes such as Bessel beams [4, 5]. By exploiting this technology we are able to optically guide aerosol droplets over extended distances and optically bind chains of aerosol droplets over macroscopic distances, well away from trapping region surfaces and final optics.

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