Particle manipulation beyond the diffraction limit using structured super-oscillating light beams

Brijesh K. Singh, Harel Nagar, Yael Roichman, Ady Arie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The diffraction-limited resolution of light focused by a lens was derived in 1873 by Ernst Abbe. Later in 1952, a method to reach sub-diffraction light spots was proposed by modulating the wavefront of the focused beam. In a related development, super-oscillating functions, that is, band-limited functions that locally oscillate faster than their highest Fourier component, were introduced and experimentally applied for super-resolution microscopy. Up till now, only simple Gaussian-like sub-diffraction spots were used. Here we show that the amplitude and phase profile of these sub-diffraction spots can be arbitrarily controlled. In particular, we utilize Hermite-Gauss, Laguerre-Gauss and Airy functions to structure super-oscillating beams with sub-diffraction lobes. These structured beams are then used for high-resolution trapping and manipulation of nanometer-sized particles. The trapping potential provides unprecedented localization accuracy and stiffness, significantly exceeding those provided by standard diffraction-limited beams.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17050
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue number9
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2017


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