Tweezers with a twist

Miles J. Padgett, Richard Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1647 Citations (SciVal)


The fact that light carries both linear and angular momentum is well-known to physicists. One application of the linear momentum of light is for optical tweezers, in which the refraction of a laser beam through a particle provides a reaction force that draws the particle towards the centre of the beam. The angular momentum of light can also be transfered to particles, causing them to spin. In fact, the angular momentum of light has two components that act through different mechanisms on various types of particle. This Review covers the creation of such beams and how their unusual intensity, polarization and phase structure has been put to use in the field of optical manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number6
Early online date31 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


Dive into the research topics of 'Tweezers with a twist'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this