Monday, December 16, 2013

Holographic optical tweezers combined with back-focal-plane displacement detection

Ferran Marsà, Arnau Farré, Estela Martín-Badosa, and Mario Montes-Usategui

A major problem with holographic optical tweezers (HOTs) is their incompatibility with laser-based position detection methods, such as back-focal-plane interferometry (BFPI). The alternatives generally used with HOTs, like high-speed video tracking, do not offer the same spatial and temporal bandwidths. This has limited the use of this technique in precise quantitative experiments. In this paper, we present an optical trap design that combines digital holography and back-focal-plane displacement detection. We show that, with a particularly simple setup, it is possible to generate a set of multiple holographic traps and an additional static non-holographic trap with orthogonal polarizations and that they can be, therefore, easily separated for measuring positions and forces with the high positional and temporal resolutions of laser-based detection. We prove that measurements from both polarizations contain less than 1% crosstalk and that traps in our setup are harmonic within the typical range. We further tested the instrument in a DNA stretching experiment and we discuss an interesting property of this configuration: the small drift of the differential signal between traps.

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