Author(s): Di Leonardo R, Saglimbeni F, Ruocco G.


“Micron-sized objects confined in thin liquid films interact through forces mediated by the deformed liquid-air interface. These capillary interactions provide a powerful driving mechanism for the self-assembly of ordered structures such as photonic materials or protein crystals. We demonstrate how optical micro-manipulation allows the direct measurement of capillary interactions between mesoscopic objects. The force falls off as an inverse power law in particles separation. We derive and validate an explicit expression for this exponent whose magnitude is mainly governed by particle size. For micron-sized objects we found an exponent close to, but smaller than 1, making capillary interactions a unique example of strong and very long ranged forces in the mesoscopic world.”

Link to Publications Page

Publication: Physical Review Letters (subscription required)

Issue/Year/DOI: Phys. Rev. Lett., Volume 100, Issue 10, 106103 (2008)