Optical Vacuum Cleaner can Trap Nanoparticles from the Environment

Researchers of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) together with Russian and international colleagues created the concept for building an “optical vacuum cleaner.”

Concept of the optical vacuum cleaner. (Image credit: Tomsk Polytechnic University)

Owing to its optical properties, the optical vacuum cleaner can capture nanoparticles from the environment. Presently, there are no operative devices for this task. The results of the study have been published in Scientific Reports (IF:4,525; Q1).

In the future, such “vacuum cleaners” can be exploited for preparation of cleanrooms and air purification during lab-on-a-chip operations.

The size of nanoparticles varies from 1 to a maximum of 100 nanometers. Currently, researchers from all around the world are seeking ways to control such small particles and manipulate them for various applications. However, there have been no sufficiently effective and widely used devices for such tasks yet. We offer a new concept for particle manipulation and capture—it is “optical vacuum cleaner.

Oleg Minin, Professor, Division for Electronic Engineering, TPU

According to this theory, an “optical vacuum cleaner” is a dielectric microparticle. In the published article, the researchers used particles possessing the shape of an equilateral cuboid. The particles have a nanohole or nanoscale gouge. Upon exposure to optical radiation, such as laser, there is optical pressure.

The resultant force is directed inside our cuboid, trapping nanoparticles into the hole. The сapacity, respectively, depends on the size of the hole,” stated the scientist.

This concept can be executed in the supposed lab-on-a-chip work in biomedical research. This method can integrate numerous laboratory functions on a chip, differing in size from a few square millimeters to square centimeters. This advanced on-chip analysis technique will help in realizing high-throughput screening and automation. Cleaning chip surface and ambient air of foreign nanoparticles will help boost the sensitivity of the analysis and the accuracy of the result.

The research was carried out by Russian and international experts from Jilin University (China) and Ben-Gurion University (Israel). The following stage will be the experimental verification of the concept.

Source: https://tpu.ru/en

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