The relative motions of two or more neutral particles, subject to optical trapping forces within a beam, are influenced by intrinsic inter-particle forces. The fundamental character of such forces is well-known and usually derives from dispersion interactions. However, the throughput of moderately intense (off-resonant) laser light can significantly modify the form and magnitude of these intrinsic forces. This optical binding effect is distinct from the optomechanical interactions involved in optical tweezers, and corresponds to a stimulated (pairwise) forward-scattering mechanism. In recent years, attention has begun to focus on optical binding effects at sub-micron and molecular dimensions. At this nanoscale, further manipulation of the interparticle forces is conceivable on the promotion of optically bound molecules to an electronic excited state. It is determined that such excitation may influence the intrinsic dispersion interaction without continued throughput of the laser beam, i.e. independent of any optical binding. Nevertheless, the forwardscattering mechanism is also affected by the initial excitation, so that both the optical binding and dispersion forces can be manipulated on input of the electromagnetic radiation. In addition, the rate of initial excitation of either molecule (or any energy transfer between them) may be influenced by an off-resonant input beam which, thus, acts as an additional actor in the modification of the interparticle force. A possible experimental set-up is proposed to enable the measurement of such changes in the interparticle coupling. © (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).
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|Published - 12 Sep 2013