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Rotation and Negative Torque in Electrodynamically Bound Nanoparticle Dimers

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posted on 29.09.2017, 00:00 by Nishant Sule, Yuval Yifat, Stephen K. Gray, Norbert F. Scherer
We examine the formation and concomitant rotation of electrodynamically bound dimers (EBD) of 150 nm diameter Ag nanoparticles trapped in circularly polarized focused Gaussian beams. The rotation frequency of an EBD increases linearly with the incident beam power, reaching mean values of ∼4 kHz for relatively low incident powers of 14 mW. Using a coupled-dipole/effective polarizability model, we reveal that retardation of the scattered fields and electrodynamic interactions can lead to a “negative torque” causing rotation of the EBD in the direction opposite to that of the circular polarization. This intriguing opposite-handed rotation due to negative torque is clearly demonstrated using electrodynamics-Langevin dynamics simulations by changing particle separations and thus varying the retardation effects. Finally, negative torque is also demonstrated in experiments from statistical analysis of the EBD trajectories. These results demonstrate novel rotational dynamics of nanoparticles in optical matter using circular polarization and open a new avenue to control orientational dynamics through coupling to interparticle separation.