Revisiting transverse optical binding

Jörg Baumgartl, Andrew P. Rudhall, Michael Mazilu, Ewan Wright, Kishan Dholakia

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

4 Scopus citations


In their pioneering work, Burns et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 63, 1233 (1989)] discovered a laser-induced optical interaction between dielectric microparticles dispersed in water. This interaction occurred in the plane transversal to the laser beam and, interestingly, induced bound pairs of particles. Accordingly, the observed phenomenon was termed "transverse optical binding" (TOB). Burns et al. argued that TOB arises from coherently induced electric dipoles in the microspheres. Indeed, this explanation verified the experimental observation that the spatial periodicity of the TOB interaction matched the laser wavelength in water. However, relatively little experimental evidence has been provided, to date, for both the strength and functional dependence of this effect on the particle distance. In our study, we used an experimental method which allowed us to directly measure the TOB interaction. As a result, we found that this interaction is surprisingly long-ranged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI
StatePublished - 2009
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 2 2009Aug 6 2009

Publication series

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


OtherOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Brownian studies
  • Colloid
  • Optical binding
  • Optical trapping

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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