All-optical control of microfluidic components using form birefringence

Steven L. Neale, Michael P. Macdonald, Kishan Dholakia, Thomas F. Krauss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


The modeling, fabrication and rotation of microgears based on the principle of form birefringence, are discussed. Using a geometric anisotropy, a microgear can be fabricated of known birefringence, which may be readily rotated by manipulating the input polarization in a standard optical trap. This methodology offers a new and powerful mechanism for generating a wide range of microfabricated machines, such as micropumps, that may be driven by purely optical control. It was presented that one microgear can be used to rotate a second optically trapped microgear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-533
Number of pages4
JournalNature materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the European Science Foundation SONS project NOMSAN and the European Commission 6th framework programme— NEST ADVENTURE Activity—through Project ATOM-3D (Contract No. 508952), for their support of this work. M. P. MacDonald acknowledges the support of an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to S.L.N. Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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