Lateral optical forces induced by linearly polarized laser beams have been predicted to deflect dipolar particles with opposite chiralities toward opposite transversal directions. These “chirality-dependent” forces can offer new possibilities for passive all-optical enantioselective sorting of chiral particles, which is essential to the nanoscience and drug industries. However, previous chiral sorting experiments focused on large particles with diameters in the geometrical-optics regime. Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, the robust sorting of Mie (size ~ wavelength) chiral particles with different handedness at an air–water interface using optical lateral forces induced by a single linearly polarized laser beam. The nontrivial physical interactions underlying these chirality-dependent forces distinctly differ from those predicted for dipolar or geometrical-optics particles. The lateral forces emerge from a complex interplay between the light polarization, lateral momentum enhancement, and out-of-plane light refraction at the particle-water interface. The sign of the lateral force could be reversed by changing the particle size, incident angle, and polarization of the obliquely incident light.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics