Optical forces in hybrid plasmonic waveguides

Nano Lett. 2011 Feb 9;11(2):321-8. doi: 10.1021/nl103070n. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


We demonstrate that in a hybrid plasmonic system the optical force exerted on a dielectric waveguide by a metallic substrate is enhanced by more than 1 order of magnitude compared to the force between a photonic waveguide and a dielectric substrate. A nanoscale gap between the dielectric waveguide and the metallic substrate leads to deep subwavelength optical energy confinement with ultralow mode propagation loss and hence results in the enhanced optical forces at low input optical power, as numerically demonstrated by both Maxwell's stress tensor formalism and the coupled mode theory analysis. Moreover, the hybridization between the surface plasmon modes and waveguide modes allows efficient optical trapping of single dielectric nanoparticle with size of only several nanometers in the gap region, manifesting various optomechanical applications such as nanoscale optical tweezers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Light
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Metals / radiation effects*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Optical Tweezers*
  • Refractometry / instrumentation*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance / instrumentation*


  • Metals