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Plidschun, Malte; Ren, Haoran; Kim, Jisoo; Foerster, Ronny; Maier, Stefan A. and Schmidt, Markus A. (2021): Ultrahigh numerical aperture meta-fibre for flexible optical trapping. In: Light-Science & Applications, Vol. 10, No. 1, 57

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Strong focusing on diffraction-limited spots is essential for many photonic applications and is particularly relevant for optical trapping;however, all currently used approaches fail to simultaneously provide flexible transportation of light, straightforward implementation, compatibility with waveguide circuitry, and strong focusing. Here, we demonstrate the design and 3D nanoprinting of an ultrahigh numerical aperture meta-fibre for highly flexible optical trapping. Taking into account the peculiarities of the fibre environment, we implemented an ultrathin meta-lens on the facet of a modified single-mode optical fibre via direct laser writing, leading to a diffraction-limited focal spot with a record-high numerical aperture of up to NA approximate to 0.9. The unique capabilities of this flexible, cost-effective, bio- and fibre-circuitry-compatible meta-fibre device were demonstrated by optically trapping microbeads and bacteria for the first time with only one single-mode fibre in combination with diffractive optics. Our study highlights the relevance of the unexplored but exciting field of meta-fibre optics to a multitude of fields, such as bioanalytics, quantum technology and life sciences.

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