Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stable, Free-space Optical Trapping and Manipulation of Sub-micron Particles in an Integrated Microfluidic Chip

Jisu Kim & Jung H. Shin

We demonstrate stable, free-space optical trapping and manipulation in an integrated microfluidic chip using counter-propagating beams. An inverted ridge-type waveguide made of SU8 is cut across by an open trench. The design of the waveguide provides low propagation losses and small divergence of the trapping beam upon emergence from the facet, and the trench designed to be deeper and wider than the optical mode enables full utilization of the optical power with an automatic alignment for counter-propagating beams in a trap volume away from all surfaces. After integration with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic channel for particle delivery, 0.65 μm and 1 μm diameter polystyrene beads were trapped in free space in the trench, and manipulated to an arbitrary position between the waveguides with a resolution of < 100 nm. Comparison with numerical simulations confirm stable trapping of sub-micron particles, with a 10 kBT threshold power of less than 1 mW and a stiffness that can be 1 order of magnitude larger than that of comparable fiber-based trapping methods.

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