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Optical Binding of Nanowires

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Institute of Scientific Instruments of the CAS, Kràlovopolskà 147, 612 64 Brno, Czech Republic
CNR-IPCF, Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Viale F. Stagno D’Alcontres 37, I-98158 Messina, Italy
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, U.K.
§ H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL, U.K.
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2017, 17, 6, 3485–3492
Publication Date (Web):May 23, 2017
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    Multiple scattering of light induces structured interactions, or optical binding forces, between collections of small particles. This has been extensively studied in the case of microspheres. However, binding forces are strongly shape dependent: here, we turn our attention to dielectric nanowires. Using a novel numerical model we uncover rich behavior. The extreme geometry of the nanowires produces a sequence of stationary and dynamic states. In linearly polarized light, thermally stable ladder-like structures emerge. Lower symmetry, sagittate arrangements can also arise, whose configurational asymmetry unbalances the optical forces leading to nonconservative, translational motion. Finally, the addition of circular polarization drives a variety of coordinated rotational states whose dynamics expose fundamental properties of optical spin. These results suggest that optical binding can provide an increased level of control over the positions and motions of nanoparticles, opening new possibilities for driven self-organization and heralding a new field of self-assembling optically driven micromachines.

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    Supporting Information

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00494.

    • Brownian dynamics simulations of ladder structures (AVI)

    • Brownian dynamics simulation of ladder instabilities (AVI)

    • Brownian dynamics simulation of arrow structures (AVI)

    • Dynamic simulation of nanowire pair in circularly polarized light (AVI)

    • Dynamic simulation of nanowire triplet in circularly polarized light (AVI)

    • Brownian dynamics simulation of rotating nanowire pair in circularly polarized light (AVI)

    • Brownian dynamics simulation of rigid nanowire pair in circularly polarized light (AVI)

    • Technical and descriptive details. Detailed movie legends. Optical polarization and torque. Numerical model description. Stability of ladder structures. Stability of arrow structures. Nanowire rotation and precession (PDF)

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