Some molecules change shape upon receiving photons of certain frequencies, but here we study light-induced deformation in ordinary dielectrics with no special optical effects. All dielectrics deform in response to light of all frequencies. We derive a dimensionless number to estimate when light can induce large deformation. For a structure made of soft dielectrics, with feature size comparable to the wavelength of light, the structure shapes the light, and the light deforms the structure. We study this two-way interaction between light and structure by combining the electrodynamics of light and the nonlinear mechanics of elasticity. We show that optical forces vary nonlinearly with deformation and readily cause optomechanical snap-through instability. These theoretical ideas may help to create optomechanical devices of soft materials, complex shapes, and small features.
Optomechanics of Soft Materials
Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology,
Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received December 20, 2014; final manuscript received February 18, 2015; published online June 3, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Erik van der Giessen.
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Bai, R., and Suo, Z. (July 1, 2015). "Optomechanics of Soft Materials." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. July 2015; 82(7): 071011. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4030324
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