An optically illuminated micron-scale dielectric sphere can generate a photonic nanojet - a nonresonant propagating beam phenomenon of high amplitude, narrow waist, and substantial sensitivity to the presence of nanometer-scale particles and geometric features located within the beam. Via three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain computational electro-dynamics modeling of illuminated graded-index microspheres, we have found that the useful length of a photonic nanojet can be increased by an order-of-magnitude to approximately 20 wavelengths. This is effectively a quasi one-dimensional light beam which may be useful for optical detection of natural or artificially introduced nanostructures deeply embedded within biological cells. Of particular interest in this regard is a potential application to visible-light detection of nanometer-scale anomalies within biological cells indicative of early-stage cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics