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Optical manipulation with metamaterial structures

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posted on 2023-01-12, 15:26 authored by Yuzhi Shi, Qinghua Song, Ivan Toftul, Tongtong Zhu, Yefeng Yu, Weiming Zhu, Din Ping Tsai, Yuri Kivshar, Ai Qun Liu
Optical tweezers employing forces produced by light underpin important manipulation tools in many areas of applied and biological physics. Conventional optical tweezers are based on refractive optics, and they require excessive auxiliary optical elements to reshape both amplitude and phase, as well as wavevector and angular momentum of light, and thus impose limitations to the overall cost and integration of optical systems. Metamaterials provide both electric and optically induced magnetic response in subwavelength optical structures, and they are highly beneficial to achieve unprecedented control of light required for many applications, also opening new opportunities for optical manipulation. Here, we review the recent advances in the field of optical tweezers employing the physics and concepts of metamaterials (the so-called meta-tweezers) and demonstrate that metamaterial structures could not only advance classical operations with particles, such as trapping, transporting, and sorting, but they uncover exotic optical forces such as pulling and lateral forces. Remarkably, apart from manipulation of particles, metastructures can be powered dynamically by light to realize ingenious meta-robots. We provide an outlook for future opportunities in this area ranging from enhanced particle manipulation to meta-robot actuation.



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