Scanning force sensing at micrometer distances from a conductive surface with nanospheres in an optical lattice

Cris Montoya, Eduardo Alejandro, William Eom, Daniel Grass, Nicolas Clarisse, Apryl Witherspoon, Andrew A. Geraci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The center-of-mass motion of optically trapped dielectric nanoparticles in a vacuum is extremely well decoupled from its environment, making a powerful tool for measurements of feeble subattonewton forces. We demonstrate a method to trap and maneuver nanoparticles in an optical standing wave potential formed by retroreflecting a laser beam from a metallic mirror surface. We can reliably position a ∼170 nm diameter silica nanoparticle at distances of a few hundred nanometers to tens of micrometers from the surface of a gold-coated silicon mirror by transferring it from a single-beam tweezer trap into the standing wave potential. We can further measure forces experienced by the particle while scanning the two-dimensional space parallel to the mirror surface, and we find no significant excess force noise in the vicinity of the surface. This method may enable three-dimensional scanning force sensing near surfaces using optically trapped nanoparticles, promising for high-sensitivity scanning force microscopy, tests of the Casimir effect, and tests of the gravitational inverse square law at micrometer scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3486-3493
Number of pages8
JournalApplied optics
Volume61
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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