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Monday, April 15, 2013

Calibration of an optical tweezer microrheometer by sequential impulse response

Matthew M. Shindel, James W. Swan, Eric M. Furst
We report a robust method for calibrating optical tweezers in any viscoelastic medium. This approach uses two coupled measurements—one from a static experiment in which a trapped particle diffuses passively within the tweezer’s harmonic potential and another from a dynamic experiment in which the trap is jumped discontinuously to a new position while the particle undergoes transient relaxation back into the minimum of the optical potential. Together, these are sufficient to determine the stiffness of the trap in a material of unknown rheology. The method is tested in a Newtonian fluid and compares favorably with other means of calibration. The calibration is also performed in a non-Newtonian fluid of which standard optical tweezer calibration methods may struggle to characterize. The correctly calibrated optical tweezer microrheometer measures the rheology of polymer solutions in agreement with macrorheological measurements.
DOI
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