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Laser beams control nanomotors

Laser systems become an integral part of human life, herewith, fiber laser technology continues to develop leading to the appearance of new applications and expanding the old ones. For instance, a team of scientists from Japan has presented novel linear nanomotors that can be moved in controlled directions applying laser beam light.
To be more precise, these fiber lasers used in nanomotors make it possible to develop new microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip systems with optically actuated pumps and valves or other devices based on fiber laser technology that can be previously challenging or even impossible perform.
It should be noted that nanoscale devices greatly differ from the one involving the contraptions to which researchers have used to employ. For example, it is more challenging to produce and accurately control a nanomotor (the tiny motor that is smaller than a bacterium) based on the laser system than to drive a car.
The recent development of the Japanese team includes a fiber laser system used in linear motors nade from gold nanorods that allow for moving in a controlled direction when subjected to a laser beam light. Herewith, the operating principle reminds a sailboat that can be directed in any desired position.
Such nanomotors’ operation does not lead to follow the direction of the laser beam. Their operation is based on the orientation even when they are subjected to a laser beam emitting from another angle. Thus, the laser system moves dut to the lateral optical force produced by the sideways scattering of laser beam light from the particles.
Moreover, there is no need to direct or shape the laser beam with lenses, which was quite challenging previously. Additionally, compared to previous systems, the wavelength of light produced by the fiber laser does not influence and limit the size of new nanomotors.
Therefore, the laser beam or the field gradient does not define the motion and does not restrain it, the direction is based on the orientation of nanoparticles themselves. “The key to this fiber laser technology is the localized surface plasmon resonance – collective oscillations of free electrons – within periodic arrays of nanorods.” They emit scattered laser beam light in a particular direction.
The team of scientists plans to apply this fiber laser system to develop a new platform for nano-sized devices with moving parts that follow predetermined paths while being directed by unfocused laser beams. Thus, they claim the cost and complexity of such systems can be significantly reduced while accuracy and robustness will increase.
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