Improving epidemic testing and containment strategies using machine learning on ArXiv

Comparison of different evolution regimes of disease spreading: free evolution (bottom left half) vs network strategy (top right half).
Improving epidemic testing and containment strategies using machine learning
Laura Natali, Saga Helgadottir, Onofrio M. Maragò, Giovanni Volpe
arXiv: 2011.11717

Containment of epidemic outbreaks entails great societal and economic costs. Cost-effective containment strategies rely on efficiently identifying infected individuals, making the best possible use of the available testing resources. Therefore, quickly identifying the optimal testing strategy is of critical importance. Here, we demonstrate that machine learning can be used to identify which individuals are most beneficial to test, automatically and dynamically adapting the testing strategy to the characteristics of the disease outbreak. Specifically, we simulate an outbreak using the archetypal susceptible-infectious-recovered (SIR) model and we use data about the first confirmed cases to train a neural network that learns to make predictions about the rest of the population. Using these prediction, we manage to contain the outbreak more effectively and more quickly than with standard approaches. Furthermore, we demonstrate how this method can be used also when there is a possibility of reinfection (SIRS model) to efficiently eradicate an endemic disease.

Gain-Assisted Optomechanical Position Locking of Metal/Dielectric Nanoshells in Optical Potentials published on ACS Photonics

Counter-propagating laser beam intensity, represented and projected on the yz plane.
Gain-Assisted Optomechanical Position Locking of Metal/Dielectric Nanoshells in Optical Potentials
Paolo Polimeno, Francesco Patti, Melissa Infusino, Jonathan Sánchez, Maria A. Iatì, Rosalba Saija, Giovanni Volpe, Onofrio M. Maragò & Alessandro Veltri
ACS Photonics 7(5), 1262–1270 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsphotonics.0c00213

We investigate gain-assisted optical forces on dye-enriched silver nanoshell in the quasi-static limit by means of a theoretical/numerical approach. We demonstrate the onset of nonlinear optical trapping of these resonant nanostructures in a counter-propagating Gaussian beam configuration. We study the optical forces and trapping behavior as a function of wavelength, particle gain level, and laser power. We support the theoretical analysis with Brownian dynamics simulations that show how particle position locking is achieved at high gains in extended optical trapping potentials. Finally, for wavelengths blue-detuned with respect to the plasmon-enhanced resonance, we observe particle channeling by the standing wave antinodes due to gradient force reversal. This work opens perspectives for gain-assisted optomechanics where nonlinear optical forces are finely tuned to efficiently trap, manipulate, channel, and deliver an externally controlled nanophotonic system.

Intracavity Optical Trapping published in Nature Commun.

Intracavity Optical Trapping

Intracavity optical trapping of microscopic particles in a ring-cavity fiber laser
Fatemeh Kalantarifard, Parviz Elahi, Ghaith Makey, Onofrio M. Maragò, F. Ömer Ilday & Giovanni Volpe
Nature Communications 10, 2683 (2019)
doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10662-7
arXiv: 1808.07831

Standard optical tweezers rely on optical forces arising when a focused laser beam interacts with a microscopic particle: scattering forces, pushing the particle along the beam direction, and gradient forces, attracting it towards the high-intensity focal spot. Importantly, the incoming laser beam is not affected by the particle position because the particle is outside the laser cavity. Here, we demonstrate that intracavity nonlinear feedback forces emerge when the particle is placed inside the optical cavity, resulting in orders-of-magnitude higher confinement along the three axes per unit laser intensity on the sample. This scheme allows trapping at very low numerical apertures and reduces the laser intensity to which the particle is exposed by two orders of magnitude compared to a standard 3D optical tweezers. These results are highly relevant for many applications requiring manipulation of samples that are subject to photodamage, such as in biophysics and nanosciences.

Review on Optical Tweezers published in J. Quant. Spectrosc. Rad. Transf.

Optical tweezers and their applications

Optical tweezers and their applications
Paolo Polimeno, Alessandro Magazzù, Maria Antonia Iata, Francesco Patti, Rosalba  Saija, Cristian Degli Esposti Boschi, Maria Grazia Donato, Pietro G. Gucciardi, Philip H. Jones, Giovanni Volpe & Onofrio M. Maragò
Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 218(October 2018), 131—150 (2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2018.07.013

Optical tweezers, tools based on strongly focused light, enable optical trapping, manipulation, and characterisation of a wide range of microscopic and nanoscopic materials. In the limiting cases of spherical particles either much smaller or much larger than the trapping wavelength, the force in optical tweezers separates into a conservative gradient force, which is proportional to the light intensity gradient and responsible for trapping, and a non-conservative scattering force, which is proportional to the light intensity and is generally detrimental for trapping, but fundamental for optical manipulation and laser cooling. For non-spherical particles or at intermediate (meso)scales, the situation is more complex and this traditional identification of gradient and scattering force is more elusive. Moreover, shape and composition can have dramatic consequences for optically trapped particle dynamics. Here, after an introduction to the theory and practice of optical forces with a focus on the role of shape and composition, we give an overview of some recent applications to biology, nanotechnology, spectroscopy, stochastic thermodynamics, critical Casimir forces, and active matter.

Guide to Building Optical Tweezers published in JOSA B

A step-by-step guide to the realisation of advanced optical tweezers

A step-by-step guide to the realisation of advanced optical tweezers
Giuseppe Pesce, Giorgio Volpe, Onofrio M. Maragò, Philip H. Jones, Sylvain Gigan, Antonio Sasso & Giovanni Volpe
Journal of the Optical Society of America B 32(5), B84—B98 (2015)
DOI: 10.1364/JOSAB.32.000B84
arXiv: 1501.07894

Since the pioneering work of Arthur Ashkin, optical tweezers (OT) have become an indispensable tool for contactless manipulation of micro- and nanoparticles. Nowadays OT are employed in a myriad of applications demonstrating their importance. While the basic principle of OT is the use of a strongly focused laser beam to trap and manipulate particles, more complex experimental setups are required to perform novel and challenging experiments. With this article, we provide a detailed step-by-step guide for the construction of advanced optical manipulation systems. First, we explain how to build a single-beam OT on a homemade micro- scope and how to calibrate it. Improving on this design, we realize a holographic OT, which can manipulate independently multiple particles and generate more sophisticated wavefronts such as Laguerre–Gaussian beams. Finally, we explain how to implement a speckle OT, which permits one to employ random speckle light fields for deterministic optical manipulation.

Review on Optical Trapping of Nanostructures published in Nature Nanotech.

Optical trapping and manipulation of nanostructures

Optical trapping and manipulation of nanostructures
Onofrio M. Maragò, Philip H. Jones, Pietro Gucciardi, Giovanni Volpe & Andrea Ferrari
Nature Nanotechnology 8(11), 807—819 (2013)
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2013.208

Optical trapping and manipulation of micrometre-sized particles was first reported in 1970. Since then, it has been successfully implemented in two size ranges: the subnanometre scale, where light–matter mechanical coupling enables cooling of atoms, ions and molecules, and the micrometre scale, where the momentum transfer resulting from light scattering allows manipulation of microscopic objects such as cells. But it has been difficult to apply these techniques to the intermediate — nanoscale — range that includes structures such as quantum dots, nanowires, nanotubes, graphene and two-dimensional crystals, all of crucial importance for nanomaterials-based applications. Recently, however, several new approaches have been developed and demonstrated for trapping plasmonic nanoparticles, semiconductor nanowires and carbon nanostructures. Here we review the state-of-the-art in optical trapping at the nanoscale, with an emphasis on some of the most promising advances, such as controlled manipulation and assembly of individual and multiple nanostructures, force measurement with femtonewton resolution, and biosensors.