Using lasers to trap ions, atoms and more recently larger particles is a well-established field of physics. Nanodiamonds, however, had never been levitated. To position these 100 nanometers diamonds in the correct spot an aerosol containing dissolved nanodiamonds sprays into a chamber about 10 inches in diameter, where the laser’s focus point is located.
Read: Researchers Optically Levitate a Glowing, Nanoscale Diamond
The diamonds are attracted to this focus point and when they drift into this spot they are trapped by the laser. Graduate student Levi Neukirch explains that sometimes “it takes a couple of squirts and in a few minutes we have a trapped nanodiamond; other times I can be here for half an hour before any diamond gets caught. Once a diamond wanders into the trap we can hold it for hours.”
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping