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Levitodynamic spectroscopy for single nanoparticle characterisation
preprintposted on 2024-01-24, 17:00 authored by Jonathan M. H. Gosling, Markus Rademacher, Jence T. Mulder, Arjan J. Houtepen, Marko Toroš, A. T. M. Anishur Rahman, Antonio Pontin, P. F. Barker
Fast detection and characterization of single nanoparticles such as viruses, airborne aerosols and colloidal particles are considered to be particularly important for medical applications, material science and atmospheric physics. In particular, non-intrusive optical characterization, which can be carried out in isolation from other particles, and without the deleterious effects of a substrate or solvent, is seen to be particularly important. Optical characterization via the scattering of light does not require complicated sample preparation and can in principle be carried out in-situ. We describe the characterization of single nanoparticle shape based on the measurement of their rotational and oscillatory motion when optically levitated within vacuum. Using colloidally grown yttrium lithium fluoride nanocrystals of different sizes, trapped in a single-beam optical tweezer, we demonstrate the utility of this method which is in good agreement with simulations of the dynamics. Size differences as small as a few nanometers could be resolved using this technique offering a new optical spectroscopic tool for non-contact characterization of single nanoparticles in the absence of a substrate.