Friday, June 12, 2015

Fiber based optical tweezers for simultaneous in situ force exertion and measurements in a 3D polyacrylamide gel compartment

Chaoyang Ti, Gawain M Thomas, Yundong Ren, Rui Zhang, Qi Wen, and Yuxiang Liu

Optical tweezers play an important role in biological applications. However, it is difficult for traditional optical tweezers based on objective lenses to work in a three-dimensional (3D) solid far away from the substrate. In this work, we develop a fiber based optical trapping system, namely inclined dual fiber optical tweezers, that can simultaneously apply and measure forces both in water and in a 3D polyacrylamide gel matrix. In addition, we demonstrate in situ, non-invasive characterization of local mechanical properties of polyacrylamide gel by measurements on an embedded bead. The fiber optical tweezers measurements agree well with those of atomic force microscopy (AFM). The inclined dual fiber optical tweezers provide a promising and versatile tool for cell mechanics study in 3D environments.

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