Unexpected Laser Discovery Leads to New 'Optofluidics' Principle

University of Houston  researchers, studying the nonlinear transmission of light through an aqueous suspension of gold nanoparticles, noticed something unexpected. A pulse laser appeared to have forced the movement of a stream of liquid in a glass laboratory test tube. As they investigated, they realized something more complex was a work than a transfer of momentum from the laser photons to the liquid. Their observation led to a new optofluidics principle, and the discovery has the potential to significantly improve work in a number of fields, including lab-on-a-chip experiments involving moving liquids, such as a droplet of blood, at a microscopic scale.