Unveiling bulk and surface radiation forces in a dielectric liquid

N. G.C. Astrath, G. A.S. Flizikowski, B. Anghinoni, L. C. Malacarne, M. L. Baesso, T. Požar, M. Partanen, I. Brevik, D. Razansky, S. E. Bialkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Precise control over light-matter interactions is critical for many optical manipulation and material characterization methodologies, further playing a paramount role in a host of nanotechnology applications. Nonetheless, the fundamental aspects of interactions between electromagnetic fields and matter have yet to be established unequivocally in terms of an electromagnetic momentum density. Here, we use tightly focused pulsed laser beams to detect bulk and boundary optical forces in a dielectric fluid. From the optical convoluted signal, we decouple thermal and nonlinear optical effects from the radiation forces using a theoretical interpretation based on the Microscopic Ampère force density. It is shown, for the first time, that the time-dependent pressure distribution within the fluid chiefly originates from the electrostriction effects. Our results shed light on the contribution of optical forces to the surface displacements observed at the dielectric air-water interfaces, thus shedding light on the long-standing controversy surrounding the basic definition of electromagnetic momentum density in matter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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