Tractor beams for optical micromanipulation

Aaron Yevick, David G. Grier

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


    Tractor beams are traveling waves that transport illuminated objects in the retrograde direction relative to the direction of propagation. The theory of photokinetic effects identifies design criteria for long-range general- purpose tractor beams. These criteria distinguish first-order tractor beams that couple to induced dipole moments from higher-order tractor beams that rely on coupling to higher-order multipole moments to achieve pulling. First-order tractor beams are inherently longer-ranged and operate on a wider variety of materials. We explore the physics of first-order tractor beams in the context of a family of generalized solenoidal waves.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationComplex Light and Optical Forces X
    EditorsEnrique J. Galvez, Jesper Gluckstad, David L. Andrews
    ISBN (Electronic)9781628419993
    StatePublished - 2016
    Event10th Conference on Complex Light and Optical Forces - San Francisco, United States
    Duration: Feb 16 2016Feb 18 2016

    Publication series

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


    Other10th Conference on Complex Light and Optical Forces
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Francisco


    • Colloidal particles
    • Computational holography
    • Optical trapping
    • Tractor beams

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


    Dive into the research topics of 'Tractor beams for optical micromanipulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this