Whispering gallery mode carousel – a photonic mechanism for enhanced
nanoparticle detection in biosensing
S. Arnold, D. Keng, S. I. Shopova, S. Holler, W. Zurawsky, and F. Vollmer
Opt. Express, 17, 6230-6238 (2009).
Individual nanoparticles in aqueous solution are observed to be attracted to and orbit within the evanescent sensing ring of a Whispering Gallery Mode micro-sensor with only microwatts of driving power. This Carousel trap, caused by attractive optical gradient forces, interfacial interactions, and the circulating momentum flux, considerably enhances the rate of transport to the sensing region, thereby overcoming limitations posed by diffusion on such small area detectors. Resonance frequency fluctuations, caused by the radial Brownian motion of the nanoparticle, reveal the radial trapping potential and the nanoparticle size. Since the attractive forces draw particles to the highest evanescent intensity at the surface, binding steps are found to be uniform.