Cooperative effects between color centers in diamond: applications to optical tweezers and optomechanics

Carlo Bradac, B. Prasanna Venkatesh, Benjamin Besga, Mattias Johnsson, Gavin Brennen, Gabriel Molina-Terriza, Thomas Volz, Mathieu L. Juan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Since the early work by Ashkin in 1970,1 optical trapping has become one of the most powerful tools for manipulating small particles, such as micron sized beads2 or single atoms.3 Interestingly, both an atom and a lump of dielectric material can be manipulated through the same mechanism: The interaction energy of a dipole and the electric field of the laser light. In the case of atom trapping, the dominant contribution typically comes from the allowed optical transition closest to the laser wavelength while it is given by the bulk polarisability for mesoscopic particles. This difference lead to two very different contexts of applications: One being the trapping of small objects mainly in biological settings,4 the other one being dipole traps for individual neutral atoms5 in the field of quantum optics. In this context, solid state artificial atoms present the interesting opportunity to combine these two aspects of optical manipulation. We are particularly interested in nanodiamonds as they constitute a bulk dielectric object by themselves, but also contain artificial atoms such as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) or silicon-vacancy (SiV) colour centers. With this system, both regimes of optical trapping can be observed at the same time even at room temperature. In this work, we demonstrate that the resonant force from the optical transition of NV centres at 637 nm can be measured in a nanodiamond trapped in water. This additional contribution to the total force is significant, reaching up to 10%. In addition, due to the very large density of NV centres in a sub-wavelength crystal, collective effects between centres have an important effect on the magnitude of the resonant force.6 The possibility to observe such cooperatively enhanced optical force at room temperature is also theoretically confirmed.7 This approach may enable the study of cooperativity in various nanoscale solid-state systems and the use of atomic physics techniques in the field of nano-manipulation and opto-mechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIV
EditorsKishan Dholakia, Gabriel C. Spalding
Place of PublicationBellingham, Washington
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781510611528
ISBN (Print)9781510611511
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIV 2017 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 6 Aug 201710 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIV 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


  • colour centers
  • cooperativity
  • near-field levitation
  • optical force
  • Optomechanics


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