Single potassium niobate nano/microsized particles as local mechano-optical Brownian probes
Perovskite alkaline niobates, due to their strong nonlinear optical properties, including birefringence and the capability to produce second-harmonic generation (SHG) signals, attract a lot of attention as potential candidates for applications as local nano/microsized mechano-optical probes. Here, we report on an implementation of photonic force microscopy (PFM) to explore the Brownian motion and optical trappability of monocrystalline potassium niobate (KNbO3) nano/microsized particles having sizes within the range of 50 to 750 nm. In particular, we exploit the anisotropic translational diffusive regime of the Brownian motion to quantify thermal fluctuations and optical forces of singly-trapped KNbO3 particles within the optical trapping volume of a PFM microscope. We also show that, under near-infrared (NIR) excitation of the highly focused laser beam of the PFM microscope, a single optically-trapped KNbO3 particle reveals a strong SHG signal manifested by a narrow peak (lambda(em) = 532 nm) at half the excitation wavelength (lambda(ex) = 1064 nm). Moreover, we demonstrate that the thus induced SHG emission can be used as a local light source that is capable of optically exciting molecules of an organic dye, Rose Bengal (RB), which adhere to the particle surface, through the mechanism of luminescence energy transfer (LET).