Nanoparticle Trapping Lab: Optical tweezers and Paul traps for nanoparticles

Welcome to the Nanoparticle Trapping Lab. The background of the group combines electrokinetics, photonics, colloidal science, stochastic thermodynamics, and quantum optomechanics at the mesoscale. Our research deals with the development of novel schemes for the control of nanoscale matter, with a focus on the stochastic dynamics of the involved systems.


  • Congratulations Dr. F. Ricci!!
  • Opening: There will be a two-years position for a graduate student to work in the implementation of different types of traps. Stay tuned!
  • I have been awarded an Infrastructure Project from the Spanish national call that will allow us to incorporate a state-of-the-art optical tweezers setup combined with Raman spectroscopy.

Left to right: R. Quidant, F. Ricci, and R. Rica, just after the defence.

February 22th: F. Ricci successfully defended his PhD Thesis entitled: Levitodynamics toward Force Nano-Sensors in Vacuum at ICFO.

14th February: I joined the meeting of the European electro-hydrodynamic group at Málaga hosted by professor Ignacio G. Loscertales.

12-13 February: I visited the JPK labs in Berlin.

First trapping event at the NanoTLab!! Together with Antonio Valenzuela, we built a Paul trap to work at ambient pressure with nanoparticles and droplets. The image shows our first trapping event, where we captured a 1 um polystyrene bead (red bright spot in the picture).

Our paper "Motion control and optical interrogation of a levitating single NV in vacuum" has been accepted for publication in Nano Letters!!

18 March: I gave a seminar at UC3M, invited by Antonio Lasanta

  • The Nobel prize in Physics 2018 has been awarded to Arthur Ashkin (1/2) "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems" and Gérard Mourou (1/4) + Donna Strickland (1/4) "for their method of generating high intensity, ultra-short optical pulses". I'm particularly happy for the recognition to A. Ashkin. Prof. D. Petrov would be very happy for this recognition, he frequently vindicated the merits of prof. Ashkin.
  • After a long effort, we succeeded to publish our study towards boosting the performance of microfluidic chips for sensing applications by means of an electro-thermal effect. Check out the paper in ACS Photonics: "Overcoming Diffusion-Limited Biosensing by Electrothermoplasmonics"
  • New paper accepted in The European Journal of Physics Special Topics! In this paper we report on our work towards the connection of two ion clouds trapped in double-Paul trap system. preprint
  • Congratulations to Édgar Roldán for his new position and group at ICTP (Trieste)!!. All the best for this new venture!
  • Since March 2017 we have been working on the assembly of a novel double Paul trap system. After a hard effort, we detected a cloud of calcium ions for the first time in this system.
  • Pau Mestres successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations Dr. Mestres!!! News from ICFO
  • New submission! Check out my first paper with real ions here
  • Next week I'll be at ICFO for the Maser School + Symposium on Optical trapping in honor of Dima Petrov
  • New paper out in Nature Communications! Optically levitated nanoparticle as a model system for stochastic bistable dynamics Link to Journal (Open Access)
  • Our Review on colloidal heat engines was accepted and published in Soft Matter