We develop an analytical framework for self-stabilizing optical manipulation of freestanding metasurfaces in three dimensions. Our framework reveals that the challenging problem of stabilization against translational and rotational perturbations in three dimensions is reduced to a simpler scattering analysis of the metasurface unit cell in two dimensions. We derive universal analytical stiffness coefficients applicable to arbitrary three-dimensional radial metasurfaces and radial beam-intensity profiles. The analytical nature of our framework facilitates highly efficient discovery of optimal optomechanical metasurfaces. Such use of metasurfaces for mechanical stabilization enables macroscale and long-range control in collimated, but otherwise unfocused light beams, and could open up avenues for manipulation beyond traditional optical tweezing and transport.
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We thank O. Miller for helpful feedback and acknowledge discussions with colleagues from the Breakthrough Starshot Lightsail Initiative. We acknowledge the support from the Minnesota Robotics Institute (MnRI) and acknowledge the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota for providing resources that contributed to the research results reported in this paper.
© 2021 American Physical Society.