Microstructures created and driven by light

Principal Investigator: Pál Ormos
This project is part of the EU-FP6 cooperation ATOM-3D


Reversible Rotors

Integrated Optical Motor

Micro Spiral Spring

The momentum carried by light can be used as a mechanical power source for microscopic machines. A series of experiments proved the above statement. The light driven rotors work similar to windmills, here the role of wind is played by light. Photopolymeriztaion is used to produce the microscopic machines. Optical tweezers hold and drive the microscopic rotors. If the rotor contacts cogwheels (which can turn around axes fixed to a microscope coverslide) it drives them, so even complex light driven micromachines can be built.

A light driven microrotor, compared in size to a human hair.

Microrotor driven cogwheels. The solid arrows point to the cogwheels with axes fixed to the coverslide, the dashed arrow points to the microrotor held by the optical tweezers. See movie.

P. Galajda and P. Ormos, Complex micromachines produced and driven by light, Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 249 (2001).