Radiation pressure measurements on micron-size individual dust grains
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Measurements of electromagnetic radiation pressure have been made on individual silica (SiO2) particles levitated in an electrodynamic balance. These measurements were made by inserting single charged particles of known diameter in the 0.2- to 6.82-mum range and irradiating them from above with laser radiation focused to beam widths of -175 400 mm at ambient pressures -10(-3) - 10(-4) torr. The downward displacement of the particle due to the radiation force is balanced by the electrostatic force indicated by the compensating dc potential applied to the balance electrodes, providing a direct measure of the radiation force on the levitated particle. Theoretical calculations of the radiation pressure with a least-squares fit to the measured data yield the radiation pressure efficiencies of the particles, and comparisons with Mie scattering theory calculations provide the imaginary part of the refractive index of SiO2 and the corresponding extinction and scattering efficiencies.