Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Light touch keeps a grip on delicate nanoparticles

Date:
May 4, 2012
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Using a refined technique for trapping and manipulating nanoparticles, researchers have extended the trapped particles' useful life more than tenfold. This new approach, which one researcher likens to "attracting moths," promises to give experimenters the trapping time they need to build nanoscale structures and may open the way to working with nanoparticles inside biological cells without damaging the cells with intense laser light.

NIST researchers’ new approach to trapping nanoparticles uses a control and feedback system that nudges them only when needed, lowering the average intensity of the beam and increasing the lifetime of the nanoparticles while reducing their tendency to wander. On the left, 100-nanometer gold nanoparticles quickly escape from a static trap while gold nanoparticles trapped using the NIST method remained strongly confined.
Credit: NIST

Using a refined technique for trapping and manipulating nanoparticles, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have extended the trapped particles' useful life more than tenfold. This new approach, which one researcher likens to "attracting moths," promises to give experimenters the trapping time they need to build nanoscale structures and may open the way to working with nanoparticles inside biological cells without damaging the cells with intense laser light.

Related Articles


Scientists routinely trap and move nanoparticles in a solution with "optical tweezers" -- a laser focused to a very small point. The tiny dot of laser light creates a strong electric field, or potential well, that attracts particles to the center of the beam. Although the particles are attracted into the field, the molecules of the fluid they are suspended in tend to push them out of the well. This effect only gets worse as particle size decreases because the laser's influence over a particle's movement gets weaker as the particle gets smaller. One can always turn up the power of the laser to generate a stronger electric field, but doing that can fry the nanoparticles too quickly to do anything meaningful with them -- if it can hold them at all.

NIST researchers' new approach uses a control and feedback system that nudges the nanoparticle only when needed, lowering the average intensity of the beam and increasing the lifetime of the nanoparticle while reducing its tendency to wander. According to Thomas LeBrun, they do this by turning off the laser when the nanoparticle reaches the center and by constantly tracking the particle and moving the tweezers as the particle moves.

"You can think of it like attracting moths in the dark with a flashlight," says LeBrun. "A moth is naturally attracted to the flashlight beam and will follow it even as the moth flutters around apparently at random. We follow the fluttering particle with our flashlight beam as the particle is pushed around by the neighboring molecules in the fluid. We make the light brighter when it gets too far off course, and we turn the light off when it is where we want it to be. This lets us maximize the time that the nanoparticle is under our control while minimizing the time that the beam is on, increasing the particle's lifetime in the trap."

Using this method at constant average beam power, 100-nanometer gold particles remained trapped 26 times longer than had been seen in previous experiments. Silica particles 350 nanometers in diameter lasted 22 times longer, but with the average beam power reduced by 33 percent. LeBrun says that their approach should be able to be combined with other techniques to trap and hold even smaller nanoparticles for extended periods without damaging them.

"We're more than an order of magnitude ahead of where we were before," says LeBrun. "We now hope to begin building complex nanoscale devices and testing nanoparticles as sensors and drugs in living cells."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arvind Balijepalli, Jason J. Gorman, Satyandra K. Gupta, Thomas W. LeBrun. Significantly Improved Trapping Lifetime of Nanoparticles in an Optical Trap using Feedback Control. Nano Letters, 2012; 120418115540006 DOI: 10.1021/nl300301x

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Light touch keeps a grip on delicate nanoparticles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120504110556.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2012, May 4). Light touch keeps a grip on delicate nanoparticles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120504110556.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Light touch keeps a grip on delicate nanoparticles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120504110556.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins