Abstract In this paper we show that laser beams containing phase singularity can be used for trapping and guiding light-absorbing particles in air. The experiments were performed with agglomerates of carbon nanoparticles with the size in the range 0.1–10 µm; the typical cw laser power was of a few mW. The stability of open-air three-dimensional trapping was within ±2 µm in both the transverse and the longitudinal directions. The particle position on the beams axis within the trap can be controlled by changing the relative intensity of two beams. The distinguishing feature of the trapping strategy is that particles are trapped at the intensity minimum of the beam, thus with minimum heating and intervention into the particle properties, which is important for direct studies of particle properties and for air-trapping of living cells.
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