Optical trapping describes the interaction between light and matter to manipulate micro-objects through momentum transfer. In the case of 3D trapping with a single beam, this is termed optical tweezers. Optical tweezers are a powerful and noninvasive tool for manipulating small objects, and have become indispensable in many fields, including physics, biology, soft condensed matter, among others. In the early days, optical trapping was typically accomplished with a single Gaussian beam. In recent years, we have witnessed rapid progress in the use of structured light beams with customized phase, amplitude, and polarization in optical trapping. Unusual beam properties, such as phase singularities on-axis and propagation invariant nature, have opened up novel capabilities to the study of micromanipulation in liquid, air, and vacuum. We summarize the recent advances in the field of optical trapping using structured light beams..
About the Cover
The image on the cover for Advanced Photonics Volume 3, Issue 3, depicts tunneling ionization of an atom, as induced by a strong laser pulse. The complex hologram in the photoelectron momentum spectrum, which encodes rich structural and dynamic information of the atom, originates from the interference of the photoelectrons tunneling at different times during the laser pulse. By introducing a weak second harmonic field, the contributions of the photoelectrons tunneling at different times are identified, a significant step toward imaging the ultrafast dynamics in atoms and molecules with the photoelectron spectroscopy of tunneling ionization.