Using optical landscapes to control, direct and isolate aerosol particles
We demonstrate the ability to direct the flow of aerosol droplets through a trapping cell using a tailored optical landscape generated by spatial light modulation. Using an optical barrier, droplets held in an optical trap can be effectively isolated from other droplets within the aerosol. To illustrate the effective isolation we compare the influence of different optical landscapes on the flow of free aerosol around a trapped droplet. We also present spectroscopic evidence of the optical barrier effect and apply the technique to permit controlled loading of different aerosol particles into neighbouring optical traps. This method will enable comparative measurements of aerosol properties to be made and facilitate the study of aerosol chemistry in sub-picolitre droplets. It also facilitates the use of an isolated droplet of known composition as a sensitive probe of the gas phase conditions in an aerosol ensemble.