Optical trapping and manipulation of nano-objects with an apertureless probe

Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Mar 25;88(12):123601. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.123601. Epub 2002 Mar 8.


We propose a novel way to trap and manipulate nano-objects above a dielectric substrate using an apertureless near-field probe. A combination of evanescent illumination and light scattering at the probe apex is used to shape the optical field into a localized, three-dimensional optical trap. We use the coupled-dipole method and the Maxwell stress tensor to provide a self-consistent description of the optical force, including retardation and the influence of the substrate. We show that small objects can be selectively captured and manipulated under realistic conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Light
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Optics and Photonics*
  • Particle Size
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Tungsten / chemistry
  • Vacuum


  • Tungsten