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Optical pulling forces and their applications

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Abstract

Optical manipulations utilizing the mechanical effect of light have been indispensable in various disciplines. Among those various manipulations, optical pulling has emerged recently as an attractive notion and captivated the popular imagination, not only because it constitutes a rich family of counterintuitive phenomena compared with traditional manipulations but also due to the profound physics underneath and potential applications. Beginning with a general introduction to optical forces, related theories, and methods, we review the progresses achieved in optical pulling forces using different mechanisms and configurations. Similar pulling forces in other forms of waves, including acoustic, water, and quantum matter waves, are also integrated. More importantly, we also include the progresses in counterintuitive left-handed optical torque and lateral optical force as the extensions of the pulling force. As a new manipulation degree of freedom, optical pulling force and related effects have potential applications in remote mass transportation, optical rotating, and optical sorting. They may also stimulate the investigations of counterintuitive phenomena in other forms of waves.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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