We investigate experimentally and theoretically the trapping of micro- and nanoparticles in the evanescent field surrounding a tapered optical fiber. We calculate the field distribution for optical fibre modes as the fiber diameter approaches cut-off, and show how combinations of modes may be used to control trapped particle dynamics, suggesting applications in particle-selective transport and trafficking. Lastly we show how the plasmon resonance of metallic nanoparticles can be exploited to achieve enhanced optical trapping.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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