Short-range force detection using optically cooled levitated microspheres

Andrew A. Geraci, Scott B. Papp, John Kitching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


We propose an experiment using optically trapped and cooled dielectric micro-spheres for the detection of short-range forces. The center-of-mass motion of a microsphere trapped in vacuum can experience extremely low dissipation and quality factors of 1012, leading to yoctonewton force sensitivity. Trapping the sphere in an optical field enables positioning at less than 1μm from a surface, a regime where exotic new forces may exist. We expect that the proposed system could advance the search for non-Newtonian gravity forces via an enhanced sensitivity of 105-107 over current experiments at the 1μm length scale. Moreover, our system may be useful for characterizing other short-range physics such as Casimir forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 30 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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