Nanoscale Tunable Optical Binding Mediated by Hyperbolic Metamaterials

Natalia A. Kostina*, Denis A. Kislov, Aliaksandra N. Ivinskaya, Alexey Proskurin, Dmitrii N. Redka, Andrey Novitsky, Pavel Ginzburg, Alexander S. Shalin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carefully designed nanostructures can inspire a new type of optomechanical interactions and allow surpassing limitations set by classical diffractive optical elements. Apart from strong near-field localization, a nanostructured environment allows controlling scattering channels and might tailor many-body interactions. Here we investigate an effect of optical binding, where several particles demonstrate a collective mechanical behavior of bunching together in a light field. In contrast to classical binding, where separation distances between particles are diffraction limited, an auxiliary hyperbolic metasurface is shown here to break this barrier by introducing several controllable near-field interaction channels. Strong material dispersion of the hyperbolic metamaterial along with high spatial confinement of optical modes, which it supports, allows achieving superior tuning capabilities and efficient control over binding distances on the nanoscale. In addition, a careful choice of the metamaterial slab's thickness enables decreasing optical binding distances by orders of magnitude compared to free space scenarios due to the multiple reflections of volumetric modes from the substrate. Auxiliary tunable metamaterials, which allow controlling collective optomechanical interactions on the nanoscale, open a venue for new investigations including collective nanofluidic interactions, triggered biochemical reactions, and many others.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Photonics
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • hyperbolic metamaterials
  • optical binding
  • optical forces
  • optical tweezers
  • surface plasmons


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