Friday, May 8, 2015

Simultaneous measurements of electrophoretic and dielectrophoretic forces using optical tweezers

Giuseppe Pesce, Giulia Rusciano, Gianluigi Zito, and Antonio Sasso

Herein, charged microbeads handled with optical tweezers are used as a sensitive probe for simultaneous measurements of electrophoretic and dielectrophoretic forces. We first determine the electric charge carried by a single bead by keeping it in a predictable uniform electric field produced by two parallel planar electrodes, then, we examine same bead’s response in proximity to a tip electrode. In this case, besides electric forces, the bead simultaneously experiences non-negligible dielectrophoretic forces produced by the strong electric field gradient. The stochastic and deterministic motions of the trapped bead are theoretically and experimentally analysed in terms of the autocorrelation function. By fitting the experimental data, we are able to extract simultaneously the spatial distribution of electrophoretic and dielectrophoretic forces around the tip. Our approach can be used for determining actual, total force components in the presence of high-curvature electrodes or metal scanning probe tips.

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