The team, led by University of Rochester assistant professor of optics, Nick Vamivakas, has submitted a paper for publication to the journal Optics Letters describing how they were able to successfully capture, levitate, and hold diamond nanoparticles as small as 100 nm indefinitely as well as incite the crystals to emit photons at varying wavelengths.
Researchers used laser trapping techniques wherein a highly concentrated laser beam exerts an attractive or repulsive force against a dielectric nanoparticle. And while science has been using so-called optical tweezers for some time, this is the first experiment to successfully pick up diamonds. And according to the U of Rochester press release:
Building upon this success, Vamivakas' team hopes to apply the technology towards nano sensory equipment that may help science explain some of physic's most fundamental conundrums. More here.