Monday, April 15, 2013

Optical tweezers for medical diagnostics

Christopher N. LaFratta
Laser trapping by optical tweezers makes possible the spectroscopic analysis of single cells. Use of optical tweezers in conjunction with Raman spectroscopy has allowed cells to be identified as either healthy or cancerous. This combined technique is known as laser tweezers Raman spectroscopy (LTRS), or Raman tweezers. The Raman spectra of cells are complex, since the technique probes nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids; but statistical analysis of these spectra makes possible differentiation of different classes of cells. In this article the recent development of LTRS is described along with two illustrative examples for potential application in cancer diagnostics. Techniques to expand the uses of LTRS and to improve the speed of LTRS are also suggested.
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