Optical conveyors: a class of active tractor beams

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Oct 19;109(16):163903. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.163903. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


We experimentally demonstrate a class of tractor beams created by coherently superposing coaxial Bessel beams. These optical conveyors have periodic intensity variations along their axes that act as highly effective optical traps for micrometer-scale objects. Trapped objects can be moved selectively upstream or downstream along the conveyor by appropriately changing the Bessel beams' relative phase. The same methods used to project a single optical conveyor can project arrays of independent optical conveyors, allowing bidirectional transport in three dimensions.