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Light touch keeps a grip on delicate nanoparticles
Date:5/4/2012

he particle is pushed around by the neighboring molecules in the fluid. We make the light brighter when it gets too far off course, and we turn the light off when it is where we want it to be. This lets us maximize the time that the nanoparticle is under our control while minimizing the time that the beam is on, increasing the particle's lifetime in the trap."

Using this method at constant average beam power, 100-nanometer gold particles remained trapped 26 times longer than had been seen in previous experiments. Silica particles 350 nanometers in diameter lasted 22 times longer, but with the average beam power reduced by 33 percent. LeBrun says that their approach should be able to be combined with other techniques to trap and hold even smaller nanoparticles for extended periods without damaging them.

"We're more than an order of magnitude ahead of where we were before," says LeBrun. "We now hope to begin building complex nanoscale devices and testing nanoparticles as sensors and drugs in living cells."


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Contact: Mark Esser
mark.esser@nist.gov
301-975-8735
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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