Fan Ye, Ryan P. Badman, James T. Inman, Mohammad Soltani, Jessica L. Killian, and Michelle D. Wang
The advent of nanophotonic evanescent field trapping and transport platforms has permitted increasingly complex single molecule and single cell studies on-chip. Here, we present the next generation of nanophotonic Standing Wave Array Traps (nSWATs) representing a streamlined CMOS fabrication process and compact biocompatible design. These devices utilize silicon nitride (Si3N4) waveguides, operate with a biofriendly 1064 nm laser, allow for several watts of input power with minimal absorption and heating, and are protected by an anticorrosive layer for sustained on-chip microelectronics in aqueous salt buffers. In addition, due to Si3N4’s negligible nonlinear effects, these devices can generate high stiffness traps while resolving subnanometer displacements for each trapped particle. In contrast to traditional table-top counterparts, the stiffness of each trap in an nSWAT device scales linearly with input power and is independent of the number of trapping centers. Through a unique integration of microcircuitry and photonics, the nSWAT can robustly trap, and controllably position, a large number of nanoparticles along the waveguide surface, operating in an all-optical, constant-force mode without need for active feedback. By reducing device fabrication cost, minimizing trapping laser specimen heating, increasing trapping force, and implementing commonly used trapping techniques, this new generation of nSWATs significantly advances the development of a high performance, low cost optical tweezers array laboratory on-chip.