Modelling the interaction between the electromagnetic field and fluids
Michiel de Reus
Supervisor: Neil Budko
Consultant: Prof. Dr. A.T. de Hoop

Site of the project: TU Delft

start of the project: November 2011

In March 2012 the Interim Thesis and a presentation has been given.

The Master project has been finished in March 2013 by the completion of the Masters Thesis and a final presentation has been given.

For working address etc. we refer to our alumnipage.

Summary of the master project:
The electromagnetic field produces a mechanical force on media with electric contrast. This well-known phenomenon is used to capture and manipulate microscopic particles in crossed laser beams - optical tweezers [1]. Until quite recently the interaction of the electromagnetic field with spatially homogeneous fluids was considered to be a simple matter of refraction and absorption and the mechanical action of the field was not taken into account. In the last several years, however, experiments have been reported demonstrating fluid flows created by the temperature gradient induced by the absorption of laser radiation [2]. Apart from the temperature-driven flows one may expect other types of fluid motion induced by the Maxwell stress-tensor [3]. These forces have to be taken into account when capturing and manipulating biological particles in water and generally in micro-fluidics.

The goal of the present project is to revisit the interaction of the electromagnetic field with fluids considering the forces produced by the field as a source in the Navier-Stokes equations. Both the resulting deformations and possible flows in a fluid and the influence of this interaction on the propagating electromagnetic wave will be investigated. First, a benchmark analytical solution will be derived for an infinite fluid medium driven by a simple incident electromagnetic wave. Second, the numerical solution of the Navier-Stokes equations driven by the analytically and/or numerically estimated electromagnetic forces will be attempted for a more complex geometry.

The preliminary project planning is as follows: literature study (1 month), analytical solution (2 months), numerical solution (4 months), thesis writing (2 months).


[1] A. Jonas and P. Zemanek, Light at work: the use of optical forces for particle manipulation, sorting and analysis, Electrophoresis, 29, 4813-4851, 2008.

[2] R. Wunenburger, B. Issenmann, E. Brasselet, C. Loussert, V. Hourtane, and J.-P. Delville, Fluid flows driven by light scattering, J. Fluid Mech., 666, 273-307, 2011.

[3] A. Yu. Savchenko, N. V. Tabiryan, and B. Ya. Zel?dovich, Transfer of momentum and torque from a light beam to a liquid, Phys. Rev. E, 56, 4773-4779, 1997.

Interference of light waves

Interference of water waves

Contact information: Kees Vuik

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