When light refracts at a surface, it changes the direction and intensity of the light rays. By Newton's 3rd law, this process imparts a small momentum to the object. This effect can be exploited to manipulate very small objects, by carefully selecting the shape and optical properties of the object. This thesis describes a computational model based on the laws of physics to determine the forces and torques resulting from light interacting with a hemicylindrical particle. This model has been successfully used to predict for the first time a phenomenon called optical lift.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Physical optics; Refraction; Light
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Science (GCCIS)
Peterson, Timothy, "Ray-traced simulation of radiation pressure for optical lift" (2011). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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