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Identification and separation of chiral particles by focused circularly polarized vortex beams

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Abstract

The identification and separation of chiral substances are of importance in the biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Here, we demonstrate that a focused circularly polarized vortex beam can, in the focal plane, selectively trap and rotate chiral dipolar particles via radial and azimuthal optical forces. The handedness and topological charge of the incident beam have strong influence on identifying and separating behavior: left- and right-handed circular polarizations lead to opposite effects on the particle of trapping and rotating, while the sign of topological charge will change the particle’s rotation direction. Such effects are a direct result of the handedness and topological charge manifesting themselves in the directions of the spin angular momentum (SAM) and Poynting vector. The research provides insight into the chiral light–matter interaction and may find potential application in the identification and separation of chiral nanoparticles.

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Data underlying the results presented in this paper are not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

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