Physics Colloquium: Dr. David Grier, Tractor Beams and Related Topological Waves
Dr. David Grier
Department of Physics
Director of the Center for Soft Matter Research
New York University, New York, NY
Tractor Beams and Related Topological Waves
Introducing topological defects into the wavefronts of traveling waves endows them with surprising and useful properties including quantized angular momentum, freedom from diffraction, and apparent force-free acceleration. Guided by the theory of photokinetic effects, we use wavefront topology to transform optical traps into practical tractor beams, thereby transforming science fiction tropes into functional tools for research and exploration. Applying analogous principles to acoustic forces reveals a new frontier for wave-matter composite systems, including new classes of experimentally observable dynamic states.