IISc. researchers develop technique to trap nano-size particles using light

Researchers at the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), IISc., have developed a technique to trap and move nano-sized particles using only light. The study was published in ‘Nature Communications’.

The ‘nanotweezers technology’, developed by Ph.D student Souvik Ghosh and Ambarish Ghosh, Associate Professor, CeNSE, uses a focused laser beam to trap and manoeuvre a nano-sized silver disk, which in turn can attract and ensnare nanoparticles when light is shone on it, an IISc. release stated. This approach could be used to precisely capture, transport and release particles such as nano-diamonds or quantum dots. Since it uses low-intensity light, the approach would also enable non-invasive manipulation of fragile biological specimens such as bacteria, viruses and proteins.

According to the release, the ability to trap and manipulate microscopic objects using light is a Nobel Prize-winning advancement that led to significant breakthroughs in diverse fields. But these ‘optical tweezers’ were not efficient at capturing particles that are nano-sized, a challenge overcome with the invention of ‘plasmonic tweezers’, which can trap much smaller particles using metallic nanostructures such as gold or silver that generate a strong electromagnetic field around themselves when light hits them, attracting and trapping nanoparticles.

“But plasmonic tweezers have a limitation: unlike optical tweezers, they are typically fixed at a spot and are only able to capture particles close to them,” the release added. In the study, the team developed an advanced nanomanipulation technique. They used a nano-disk made of silver as a plasmonic tweezer, and manoeuvred it using a focused laser beam that acted as the optical tweezer.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 8:44:50 pm |