Optical tweezers for micro- and nano-assembly

Jeffrey E. Melzer, Euan McLeod

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Optical tweezers are a powerful platform for nano- and micro-assembly, as they provide a non-contact and biologically friendly method for the three-dimensional manipulation of objects over a range of sizes and of varying material properties. Three-dimensional micro- and nano-scale structures that are composed of multiple materials often achieve improved performance over single-material designs. In the case of optical devices, the inclusion of both metallic and dielectric media allows for the possibility of achieving functionality which is otherwise inaccessible. Although there are many methods for fabricating small-scale three-dimensional optical devices, the majority of these approaches only deal with a single material or type of material. Thus, in order to create structures that consist of multiple materials, it is typically necessary to use a combination of methods over the course of several steps. Here we show that optical tweezers are a promising technology for the assembly of heterogeneous optical structures in a single process. We demonstrate our approach by fabricating structures using core-shell nanoparticles with metallic shells and dielectric cores as building blocks. To the best of our knowledge, these structures represent the first nanoscale, multi-material devices built using the optical tweezer platform. Furthermore, we discuss several relevant metrics regarding the assembly process such as object translation speeds, placement accuracy, and overall rates of fabrication. Currently, we have achieved lateral speeds up to 0.2 mm/s and placement repeatability down to 50 nm. We suggest future applications of this fabrication method and discuss the next steps in its evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics XIII
EditorsGeorg von Freymann, Eva Blasco, Debashis Chanda
ISBN (Electronic)9781510633476
StatePublished - 2020
EventAdvanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics XIII 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 2 2020Feb 5 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceAdvanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics XIII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Microassembly
  • Nanoassembly
  • Nanofab- rication
  • Optical assembly
  • Optical tweezers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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