Pushing the limit: investigation of hydrodynamic forces on a trapped particle kicked by a laser pulse

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We introduce a new optical technique where a train of short optical pulses is utilized to disturb a trapped microscopic particle. Using fast (250 kHz) and accurate (nm) detection of the position of the particle, accurately synchronized to the repetition rate of the laser pulses, we can coherently superimpose the displacement caused by each individual laser pulse. Thereby we are able to both bypass the influence from the Brownian motion of the trapped particle and to simultaneously increase the ability to localize its average trajectory by n, where n is the number of repetitive pulses. In the results presented here we utilize a train of 1200 pulses to kick a 5 μm polystyrene sphere and obtain a spatial resolution corresponding to 0.09 nm and a time resolution of 4 μs. The magnitude of the optical force pushing the particle corresponds to ∼ 10<sup>4</sup>g and enables an investigation of both the hydrodynamical drag and the inertial effects caused by the particle and the surrounding liquid. Our results enables a more accurate testing of the existing extended models for the hydrodynamic drag and we discuss the observed agreement between experiments and theory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOptics Express
Pages (from-to)13141-52
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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