Monday, December 9, 2013

Optical tweezers technique and its applications

HongLian Guo, ZhiYuan Li

Since their advent in the 1980s, optical tweezers have attracted more and more attention due to their unique non-contact and non-invasion characteristics and their wide applications in physics, biology, chemistry, medical science and nanoscience. In this paper, we introduce the basic principle, the history and typical applications of optical tweezers and review our recent experimental works on the development and application of optical tweezers technique. We will discuss in detail several technological issues, including high precision displacement and force measurement in single-trap and dual-trap optical tweezers, multi-trap optical tweezers with each trap independently and freely controlled by means of space light modulator, and incorporation of cylindrical vector optical beams to build diversified optical tweezers beyond the conventional Gaussian-beam optical tweezers. We will address the application of these optical tweezers techniques to study biophysical problems such as mechanical deformation of cell membrane and binding energy between plant microtubule and microtubule associated proteins. Finally we present application of the optical tweezers technique for trapping, transporting, and patterning of metallic nanoparticles, which can be harnessed to manipulate surface plasmon resonance properties of these nanoparticles.

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