GCforce: Decomposition of optical force into gradient and scattering parts

Hongxia Zheng, Xinning Yu, Wanli Lu, Tsz Fai Jack NG, Zhifang Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


A MATLAB function GCforce is presented for the calculation of gradient and scattering parts of optical force (OF). The decomposition of OF into the gradient and scattering parts, or, equivalently, the conservative and nonconservative components, is of great importance to the physical understanding of optical micromanipulation. In this paper, we propose a formulation to decompose the OF acting on a spherical particle immersed in an arbitrary monochromatic optical field, based on the generalized Lorenz–Mietheory and the Cartesian multipole expansion approach. The expressions for the gradient and scattering forces are given explicitly in terms of the partial wave expansion coefficients of the optical field shining on the particle and the Mie coefficients of the particle. A MATLAB function GCforce.m is also presented for the calculation. The explicit and rigorous decomposition of the OF into conservative and nonconservative forces sheds light on the understanding of light–matter interaction as well as contributes significantly to the designing of optical fields to achieve various optical micromanipulation. Program summary: Program Title: GCforce Program Files doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17632/9ytk7bv3md.1 Licensing provisions: GPLv3 Programming language: MATLAB Nature of problem: Decomposition of optical force acting on an isotropic spherical particle of size comparable to optical wave length into conservative (gradient) and nonconservative (scattering) components. Solution method: By deriving the explicit expressions for computing the optical gradient force and scattering force exerting on the particle in terms of the partial wave expansion coefficients of the incident monochromatic optical field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Generalized Lorenz–Mie theory
  • Gradient force
  • Multipole expansion theory
  • Scattering force


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