Abstract by Ellyse Taylor
Physics and Astronomy
Microscopic Dust Particles Trapped in a Laser Beam
Several years ago it was observed that dust particles, when exposed to an intense laser field, will trap and glow in the beam due to heating from the field’s energy. This discovery was deemed insignificant until 2018, when Dr. Smalley from the BYU engineering department discovered that you can create floating 3D volumetric images by rapidly scanning the particle through the air. We seek to improve the quality of these levitating particle volumetric images by establishing a model to describe how and why the particles trap. Collected data includes particle size, materials, and surrounding pressure levels that trap best. We also noticed a tendency in the particles to couple, rotate, and traverse the beam length. These results have led us to our current theory that there may be low energy pockets in the beam which our future experimentation will examine.