Plasmonic nanotweezers based on au bowtie nanoantenna arrays for manipulation of nano-to-macroscopic objects

Kimani C. Toussaint, Brian J. Roxworthy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Plasmonic optical traps, or plasmonic -nanotweezers, have emerged as an attractive alternative for optical manipulation because they circumvent the diffraction limit, producing highly confined and enhanced fields that both relax constraints for microparticle manipulation and offer a route for improving nanoparticle trapping. Here, we present an overview of the use of Au bowtie nanoantenna arrays (BNAs) for plasmonic nanotweezers. We show that optical absorption by the BNAs creates convection currents that resemble a Rayleigh-B-enard pattern and that an absorptive substrate, e.g. Indium-Tin-Oxide, is crucial to achieve large convection velocities. Furthermore, we demonstrate phase-like behavior of trapped particles and that the adhesion layer material and nanostructure orientation strongly affect trapping behavior. In addition, we discuss the use of a femtosecond- pulsed source in plasmonic nanotweezers and demonstrate that the fs pulses (1) augment the near-field optical forces compared to comparable, continuous-wave nanotweezers, and (2) increase the diagnostic capabilities of plasmonic nanotweezers by providing access to the nonlinear optical response of trapped species. Finally, we show for the first time that plasmonic nanoantennas are an effective tool for manipulation objects up to at least 50 -m in diameter. Using low-numerical aperture illumination (0.25-0.6 NA), we show that manipulation of these \macroscopic objects is facilitated by increasing the number of illuminated nanostructures participating in the trapping event. These results open up a new avenue for the usage of plasmonic nanotweezers and may have applications for manipulating Eukaryotic cells, studying self-organization/ aggregation of cells, and micro-scale manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X
ISBN (Print)9780819496607
StatePublished - 2013
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 25 2013Aug 29 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Nonlinear optics
  • Optical trapping
  • Plasmonic convection
  • Plasmonic nanotweezers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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