Monday, October 30, 2017

Particle manipulation beyond the diffraction limit using structured super-oscillating light beams

Brijesh K Singh, Harel Nagar, Yael Roichman and Ady Arie

The diffraction-limited resolution of light focused by a lens was derived in 1873 by Ernst Abbe. Later in 1952, a method to reach sub-diffraction light spots was proposed by modulating the wavefront of the focused beam. In a related development, super-oscillating functions, that is, band-limited functions that locally oscillate faster than their highest Fourier component, were introduced and experimentally applied for super-resolution microscopy. Up till now, only simple Gaussian-like sub-diffraction spots were used. Here we show that the amplitude and phase profile of these sub-diffraction spots can be arbitrarily controlled. In particular, we utilize Hermite–Gauss, Laguerre–Gauss and Airy functions to structure super-oscillating beams with sub-diffraction lobes. These structured beams are then used for high-resolution trapping and manipulation of nanometer-sized particles. The trapping potential provides unprecedented localization accuracy and stiffness, significantly exceeding those provided by standard diffraction-limited beams.


Nanoscopic control and quantification of enantioselective optical forces

Yang Zhao, Amr A. E. Saleh, Marie Anne van de Haar, Brian Baum, Justin A. Briggs, Alice Lay, Olivia A. Reyes-Becerra & Jennifer A. Dionne

Circularly polarized light (CPL) exerts a force of different magnitude on left- and right-handed enantiomers, an effect that could be exploited for chiral resolution of chemical compounds1, 2, 3, 4, 5 as well as controlled assembly of chiral nanostructures6, 7. However, enantioselective optical forces are challenging to control and quantify because their magnitude is extremely small (sub-piconewton) and varies in space with sub-micrometre resolution2. Here, we report a technique to both strengthen and visualize these forces, using a chiral atomic force microscope probe coupled to a plasmonic optical tweezer8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Illumination of the plasmonic tweezer with CPL exerts a force on the microscope tip that depends on the handedness of the light and the tip. In particular, for a left-handed chiral tip, transverse forces are attractive with left-CPL and repulsive with right-CPL. Additionally, total force differences between opposite-handed specimens exceed 10 pN. The microscope tip can map chiral forces with 2 nm lateral resolution, revealing a distinct spatial distribution of forces for each handedness.


Reexamination of the Abraham-Minkowski dilemma

Mário G. Silveirinha

Here the Abraham-Minkowski controversy on the correct definition of the light momentum in a macroscopic medium is revisited with the purpose to highlight that an effective medium formalism necessarily restricts the available information on the internal state of a system, and that this is ultimately the reason why the dilemma has no universal solution. Despite these difficulties, it is demonstrated that in the limit of no material absorption and under steady-state conditions, the time-averaged light (kinetic) momentum may be unambiguously determined by the Abraham result, both for bodies at rest and for circulatory flows of matter. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of quantum optics of moving media, and we examine in detail the fundamental role of the Minkowski momentum in such a context.


Adhesion force and attachment lifetime of the KIF16B-PX domain interaction with lipid membranes

Serapion Pyrpassopoulos, Henry Shuman, and E. Michael Ostap

KIF16B is a highly processive kinesin-3 family member that participates in the trafficking and tubulation of early endosomes along microtubules. KIF16B attaches to lipid cargos via a PX motif at its C-terminus, which has nanomolar affinity for bilayers containing phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI(3)P). As the PX domain has been proposed to be a primary mechanical anchor for the KIF16B-cargo attachment, we measured the adhesion forces and detachment kinetics of the PX domain as it interacts with membranes containing 2% PI(3)P and 98% phosphatidylcholine. Using optical tweezers, we found that the adhesion strength of a single PX domain ranged between 19 and 54 pN at loading rates between 80 and 1500 pN/s. These forces are substantially larger than the interaction of the adhesion of a pleckstrin homology domain with phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. This increased adhesion is the result of the membrane insertion of hydrophobic residues adjacent to the PI(3)P binding site, in addition to electrostatic interactions with PI(3)P. Attachment lifetimes under load decrease monotonically with force, indicating slip-bond behavior. However, the lifetime of membrane attachment under load appears to be well matched to the duration of processive motility of the KIF16B motor, indicating the PX domain is a suitable mechanical anchor for intracellular transport.


Force, torque, linear momentum, and angular momentum in classical electrodynamics

Masud Mansuripur

The classical theory of electrodynamics is built upon Maxwell’s equations and the concepts of electromagnetic (EM) field, force, energy, and momentum, which are intimately tied together by Poynting’s theorem and by the Lorentz force law. Whereas Maxwell’s equations relate the fields to their material sources, Poynting’s theorem governs the flow of EM energy and its exchange between fields and material media, while the Lorentz law regulates the back-and-forth transfer of momentum between the media and the fields. An alternative force law, first proposed by Einstein and Laub, exists that is consistent with Maxwell’s equations and complies with the conservation laws as well as with the requirements of special relativity. While the Lorentz law requires the introduction of hidden energy and hidden momentum in situations where an electric field acts on a magnetized medium, the Einstein–Laub (E–L) formulation of EM force and torque does not invoke hidden entities under such circumstances. Moreover, total force/torque exerted by EM fields on any given object turns out to be independent of whether the density of force/torque is evaluated using the law of Lorentz or that of Einstein and Laub. Hidden entities aside, the two formulations differ only in their predicted force and torque distributions inside matter. Such differences in distribution are occasionally measurable, and could serve as a guide in deciding which formulation, if either, corresponds to physical reality.


Trapping of Micro Particles in Nanoplasmonic Optical Lattice

Dinesh Bhalothia, Ya-Tang Yang

The plasmonic optical tweezer has been developed to overcome the diffraction limits of the conventional far field optical tweezer. Plasmonic optical lattice consists of an array of nanostructures, which exhibit a variety of trapping and transport behaviors. We report the experimental procedures to trap micro-particles in a simple square nanoplasmonic optical lattice. We also describe the optical setup and the nanofabrication of a nanoplasmonic array. The optical potential is created by illuminating an array of gold nanodiscs with a Gaussian beam of 980 nm wavelength, and exciting plasmon resonance. The motion of particles is monitored by fluorescence imaging. A scheme to suppress photothermal convection is also described to increase usable optical power for optimal trapping. Suppression of convection is achieved by cooling the sample to a low temperature, and utilizing the near-zero thermal expansion coefficient of a water medium. Both single particle transport and multiple particle trapping are reported here.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Mode-selective thermal radiation from a microsphere as a probe of optical properties of high-temperature materials

R. Morino, H. Tajima, H. Sonoda, H. Kobayashi, R. Kanamoto, H. Odashima, and M. Tachikawa
Our spectroscopic method using laser trapping and heating has demonstrated that thermal emission from a metal oxide microsphere is enhanced at frequencies resonant with the whispering gallery modes of the spherical resonator. Only a mode series of a specific order effectively emits thermal photons, and spectral peaks shift from higher-order whispering gallery modes to fundamental whispering gallery modes as the size parameter decreases. These spectral profiles are analyzed with the Mie scattering theory and a semiclassical rate-equation model. The observed mode selectivity in thermal radiation is attributed to a matching between the rates of cavity damping and internal absorption. Excellent reproducibility of the observed spectral profiles leads to a precise determination of optical constants of extremely hot materials.


Circularly symmetric frozen waves: Vector approach for light scattering calculations

Leonardo André Ambrosio

This work introduces particular classes of vector wave fields for light scattering calculations, viz. structured light fields composed of specific superpositions of circularly symmetric Bessel beams of arbitrary order. Also known as generalized frozen waves, such beams carry all the non-diffracting properties of their constituents with the additional feature of allowing for an arbitrary design of the longitudinal intensity pattern along the surface of several cylinders of fixed radius, simultaneously. This feature makes the generalized frozen waves especially suitable for optical confinement and manipulation and atom guiding and selection. In the framework of the generalized Lorenz–Mie theory, the beam shape coefficients which describe such beams are evaluated in exact and analytic form, the resulting expressions being then applied in light scattering problems. Particular frozen waves are considered beyond the paraxial approximation, optical forces being calculated for specific dielectric Rayleigh particles.


Local electrophoresis deposition assisted by laser trapping coupled with a spatial light modulator for three-dimensional microfabrication

Toshiki Matsuura, Takanari Takai and Futoshi Iwata

We describe a novel three-dimensional fabrication technique using local electrophoresis deposition assisted by laser trapping coupled with a spatial light modulator (SLM). In a solution containing nanometer-scale colloidal Au particles, multiple laser spots formed on a conductive substrate by the SLM gathered the nanoparticles together, and then the nanoparticles were electrophoretically deposited onto the substrate by an applied electrical field. However, undesirable sub-spots often appeared due to optical interference from the multiple laser spots, which deteriorated the accuracy of the deposition. To avoid the appearance of undesirable sub-spots, we proposed a method using quasi-multiple spots, which we realized by switching the position of a single spot briefly using the SLM. The method allowed us to deposit multiple dots on the substrate without undesirable sub-dot deposition. By moving the substrate downward during deposition, multiple micro-pillar structures could be fabricated. As a fabrication property, the dependence of the pillar diameter on laser intensity was investigated by changing the number of laser spots. The smallest diameter of the four pillars fabricated in this study was 920 nm at the laser intensity of 2.5 mW. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the method, multiple spiral structures were fabricated. Quadruple spirals of 46 µm in height were successfully fabricated with a growth rate of 0.21 µm/s using 2200 frames of the CGH patterns displayed in the SLM at a frame rate of 10 fps.


Optical forces through the effective refractive index

Janderson R. Rodrigues and Vilson R. Almeida

Energy-based methods such as the dispersion relation (DR) and response theory of optical forces (RTOF) have been largely applied to obtain the optical forces in the nano-optomechanical devices, in contrast to the Maxwell stress tensor (MST). In this Letter, we apply first principles to show explicitly why these methods must agree with the MST formalism in linear lossless systems. We apply the RTOF multi-port to show that the optical force expression on these devices can be extended to analyze multiple light sources, broadband sources, and multimode devices, with multiple degrees of freedom. We also show that the DR method, when expressed as a function of the derivative of the effective index performed at a fixed wave vector, may be misinterpreted and lead to overestimated results.


Optical trapping of Au-Fe alloyed nanoparticles: a theoretical calculation

Ebrahim Madadi

Magnetoplasmonic nanoparticles such as Au-Fe alloys
 are very intersting for their properties. In this article, the 
 optical trapping of Au-Fe nanoparticles
 are investigated as a function of Fe atomic percent doped in 
 gold nanoparticles, theoretically.
 Using Lorenz-Mie theory it is shown that the maximum force
 exerted on the alloyed nanoparticles enhances about $75\%$ 
 with increaseing Fe atomic percent. It is shown that
 trapping strength is depth-dependent and shows $20\%$ increment 
 in shallow positions and $17\%$ decrement
 in the axial direction in the optimal depth which
 is $7\mu m$ deep inside the sample.
 Wavelength dependence of alloyed nanoparticles is studied, too.


On the substrate contribution to the back action trapping of plasmonic nanoparticles on resonant near-field traps in plasmonic films

Punnag Padhy, Mohammad Asif Zaman, Paul Hansen, and Lambertus Hesselink

Nanoparticles trapped on resonant near-field apertures/engravings carved in plasmonic films experience optical forces due to the steep intensity gradient field of the aperture/engraving as well as the image like interaction with the substrate. For non-resonant nanoparticles the contribution of the substrate interaction to the trapping force in the vicinity of the trap (aperture/engraving) mode is negligible. But, in the case of plasmonic nanoparticles, the contribution of the substrate interaction to the low frequency stable trapping mode of the coupled particle-trap system increases as their resonance is tuned to the trap resonance. The strength of the substrate interaction depends on the height of the nanoparticle above the substrate. As a result, a difference in back action mechanism arises for nanoparticle displacements perpendicular to the substrate and along it. For nanoparticle displacements perpendicular to the substrate, the self induced back action component of the trap force arises due to changing interaction with the substrate as well as the trap. On the other hand, for displacements along the substrate, it arises solely due to the changing interaction with the trap. This additional contribution of the substrate leads to more pronounced back action. Numerical simulation results are presented to illustrate these effects using a bowtie engraving as the near-field trap and a nanorod as the trapped plasmonic nanoparticle. The substrate’s role may be important in manipulation of plasmonic nanoparticles between successive traps of on-chip optical conveyor belts, because they have to traverse over regions of bare substrate while being handed off between these traps.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Native kinesin-1 does not bind preferentially to GTP-tubulin-rich microtubules in vitro

Qiaochu Li, Stephen J. King, Jing X

Molecular motors such as kinesin-1 work in small teams to actively shuttle cargos in cells, for example in polarized transport in axons. Here, we examined the potential regulatory role of the nucleotide state of tubulin on the run length of cargos carried by multiple kinesin motors, using an optical trapping-based in vitro assay. Based on a previous report that kinesin binds preferentially to GTP-tubulin-rich microtubules, we anticipated that multiple-kinesin cargos would run substantially greater distances along GMPCPP microtubules than along GDP microtubules. Surprisingly, we did not uncover any significant differences in run length between microtubule types. A combination of single-molecule experiments, comparison with previous theory, and classic microtubule affinity pulldown assays revealed that native kinesin-1 does not bind preferentially to GTP-tubulin-rich microtubules. The apparent discrepancy between our observations and the previous report likely reflects differences in post-translational modifications between the native motors used here and the recombinant motors examined previously. Future investigations will help shed light on the interplay between the motor's post-translational modification and the microtubule's nucleotide-binding state for transport regulation in vivo.


Bidirectional optical rotation of cells

Jiyi Wu, Weina Zhang, and Juan Li

Precise and controlled rotation manipulation of cells is extremely important in biological applications and biomedical studies. Particularly, bidirectional rotation manipulation of a single or multiple cells is a challenge for cell tomography and analysis. In this paper, we report an optical method that is capable of bidirectional rotation manipulation of a single or multiple cells. By launching a laser beam at 980 nm into dual-beam tapered fibers, a single or multiple cells in solutions can be trapped and rotated bidirectionally under the action of optical forces. Moreover, the rotational behavior can be controlled by altering the relative distance between the two fibers and the input optical power. Experimental results were interpreted by numerical simulations.


Kaleidoscopic patterning of micro-objects based on software-oriented approach using dual optical tweezers with a microlens array

Yoshio Tanaka

Dynamical and precise arrangement of micro-objects into the specified various pattern offers great flexibility and potential as platforms for many scientific applications, especially in bio-sensing and biomedical fields such as bio-MEMS and Lab-on-a-Chip. Multi-beam optical tweezers are one of the most suitable tools for assembling precise dynamic arrays of micro-objects. Herein, a dynamic patterning method based on software-oriented approach is proposed (i.e. time-shared scanning technique) using the dual optical tweezers with a microlens array. The proposed method can expand the patterning capability of this dual optical tweezers system to simply fabricate various quasi-periodic structures. The work also demonstrates kaleidoscopic patterning (periodic or symmetric arrangements such as Escher's paintings) of numerous microbeads and subsequent morphing. In the demonstrations, microbeads with different properties (size and colour) as well as homogeneous microbeads are arranged dynamically into the specified patterns, including their clusters.


Collective Force Regulation in Anti-parallel Microtubule Gliding by Dimeric Kif15 Kinesin Motors

Dana N.Reinemann, Emma G.Sturgill, Dibyendu KumarDas, Miriam Steiner Degen, Zsuzsanna Vörös, Wonmuk Hwang, Ryoma Ohi, Matthew J.Lang

During cell division, the mitotic kinesin-5 Eg5 generates most of the force required to separate centrosomes during spindle assembly. However, Kif15, another mitotic kinesin, can replace Eg5 function, permitting mammalian cells to acquire resistance to Eg5 poisons. Unlike Eg5, the mechanism by which Kif15 generates centrosome separation forces is unknown. Here we investigated the mechanical properties and force generation capacity of Kif15 at the single-molecule level using optical tweezers. We found that the non-motor microtubule-binding tail domain interacts with the microtubule’s E-hook tail with a rupture force higher than the stall force of the motor. This allows Kif15 dimers to productively and efficiently generate forces that could potentially slide microtubules apart. Using an in vitro optical trapping and fluorescence assay, we found that Kif15 slides anti-parallel microtubules apart with gradual force buildup while parallel microtubule bundles remain stationary with a small amount of antagonizing force generated. A stochastic simulation shows the essential role of Kif15’s tail domain for load storage within the Kif15-microtubule system. These results suggest a mechanism for how Kif15 rescues bipolar spindle assembly.


Membrane Mechanics Govern Spatiotemporal Heterogeneity of Endocytic Clathrin Coat Dynamics

N. M. Willy, J. P. Ferguson, S. D. Huber, S. P. Heidotting, E. Aygün, S. A. Wurm, E. Johnston-Halperin, M. G. Poirier, and C. Kural

Dynamics of endocytic clathrin-coated structures can be remarkably divergent across different cell types, cells within the same culture, or even distinct surfaces of the same cell. The origin of this astounding heterogeneity remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that cellular processes associated with changes in effective plasma membrane tension induce significant spatiotemporal alterations in endocytic clathrin coat dynamics. Spatiotemporal heterogeneity of clathrin coat dynamics is also observed during morphological changes taking place within developing multicellular organisms. These findings suggest that tension gradients can lead to patterning and differentiation of tissues through mechanoregulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis.


Kinesin and dynein mechanics: measurement methods and research applications

Zachary Abraham, Emma Hawley, Daniel Hayosh, Victoria Webster-Wood and Ozan Akkus

Motor proteins play critical roles in the normal function of cells and proper development of organisms. Among motor proteins, failings in the normal function of two types of proteins, kinesin and dynein, have been shown to lead many pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. As such, it is critical for researchers to understand the underlying mechanics and behaviors of these proteins, not only to shed light on how failures may lead to disease, but also to guide research towards novel treatment and nanoengineering solutions. To this end, many experimental techniques have been developed to measure the force and motility capabilities of these proteins. This review will: a) discuss such techniques, specifically microscopy, atomic force microscopy, optical trapping, and magnetic tweezers, and, b) the resulting nanomechanical properties of motor protein functions such as stalling force, velocity and dependence on ATP concentrations will be comparatively discussed. Additionally, this review will highlight the clinical importance of these proteins. Furthermore, as the understanding of the structure and function of motor proteins improves, novel applications are emerging in the field. Specifically, researchers have begun to modify the structure of existing proteins, thereby engineering novel elements to alter and improve native motor protein function, or even allow the motor proteins to perform entirely new tasks as parts of nanomachines. Kinesin and dynein are vital elements for the proper function of cells. While many exciting experiments have shed light on their function, mechanics, and applications, additional research is needed to completely understand their behavior.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ionic effects on the temperature–force phase diagram of DNA

Sitichoke Amnuanpol

Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) undergoes a structural transition to single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) in many biologically important processes such as replication and transcription. This strand separation arises in response either to thermal fluctuations or to external forces. The roles of ions are twofold, shortening the range of the interstrand potential and renormalizing the DNA elastic modulus. The dsDNA-to-ssDNA transition is studied on the basis that dsDNA is regarded as a bound state while ssDNA is regarded as an unbound state. The ground state energy of DNA is obtained by mapping the statistical mechanics problem to the imaginary time quantum mechanics problem. In the temperature–force phase diagram the critical force Fc(T) increases logarithmically with the Na+ concentration in the range from 32 to 110 mM. Discussing this logarithmic dependence of Fc(T) within the framework of polyelectrolyte theory, it inevitably suggests a constraint on the difference between the interstrand separation and the length per unit charge during the dsDNA-to-ssDNA transition.


Actin and microtubule networks contribute differently to cell response for small and large strains

H Kubitschke, J Schnauss, K D Nnetu, E Warmt, R Stange and J Kaes

Cytoskeletal filaments provide cells with mechanical stability and organization. The main key players are actin filaments and microtubules governing a cell's response to mechanical stimuli. We investigated the specific influences of these crucial components by deforming MCF-7 epithelial cells at small (≤5% deformation) and large strains (>5% deformation). To understand specific contributions of actin filaments and microtubules, we systematically studied cellular responses after treatment with cytoskeleton influencing drugs. Quantification with the microfluidic optical stretcher allowed capturing the relative deformation and relaxation of cells under different conditions. We separated distinctive deformational and relaxational contributions to cell mechanics for actin and microtubule networks for two orders of magnitude of drug dosages. Disrupting actin filaments via latrunculin A, for instance, revealed a strain-independent softening. Stabilizing these filaments by treatment with jasplakinolide yielded cell softening for small strains but showed no significant change at large strains. In contrast, cells treated with nocodazole to disrupt microtubules displayed a softening at large strains but remained unchanged at small strains. Stabilizing microtubules within the cells via paclitaxel revealed no significant changes for deformations at small strains, but concentration-dependent impact at large strains. This suggests that for suspended cells, the actin cortex is probed at small strains, while at larger strains; the whole cell is probed with a significant contribution from the microtubules.


Integrated Method to Attach DNA Handles and Functionally Select Proteins to Study Folding and Protein-Ligand Interactions with Optical Tweezers

Yuxin Hao, Clare Canavan, Susan S. Taylor & Rodrigo A. Maillard

Optical tweezers has emerged as a powerful tool to study folding, ligand binding, and motor enzymes. The manipulation of proteins with optical tweezers requires attaching molecular handles to the protein of interest. Here, we describe a novel method that integrates the covalent attachment of DNA handles to target proteins with a selection step for functional and properly folded molecules. In addition, this method enables obtaining protein molecules in different liganded states and can be used with handles of different lengths. We apply this method to study the cAMP binding domain A (CBD-A) of Protein kinase A. We find that the functional selection step drastically improves the reproducibility and homogeneity of the single molecule data. In contrast, without a functional selection step, proteins often display misfolded conformations. cAMP binding stabilizes the CBD-A against a denaturing force, and increases the folded state lifetime. Data obtained with handles of 370 and 70 base pairs are indistinguishable, but at low forces short handles provide a higher spatial resolution. Altogether, this method is flexible, selects for properly folded molecules in different liganded states, and can be readily applicable to study protein folding or protein-ligand interactions with force spectroscopy that require molecular handles.


Submicrometer-sized nonspherical particle separation by laser beam

Jaromír Petržala, Miroslav Kocifaj, Ladislav Kómar, and Alexandre Simoneau

The radiation pressure exerted on sub-micrometer-size particles is shown to be an important factor predetermining the impact coordinates of the particles after being illuminated by a laser beam. Unlike spherical particles, the nonspherical ones can be deflected perpendicularly to the beam direction if the momentum transfer from the laser beam to a particle is large enough. Such an optical sorting is a useful technology, which can be used to isolate spherules of a specific size from a population of particles of random sizes and shapes. The system of ideal spheres has a wide range of applications in industry and also in the development of targeted optical devices, and so the methods for fast contact-less particle separation are expected to lead to considerable progress in the field. The theoretical model we have developed is demonstrated in a set of numerical experiments on metallic and nonmetallic particles.


Protein Folding Mediated by Trigger Factor and Hsp70: New Insights from Single-Molecule Approaches

Florian Wruck, Mario J.Avellaneda, Eline J.Koers, David P. Minde, Matthias P. Mayer, Günter Kramer, Alireza Mashaghi, Sander J.Tans

Chaperones assist in protein folding, but what this common phrase means in concrete terms has remained surprisingly poorly understood. We can readily measure chaperone binding to unfolded proteins, but how they bind and affect proteins along folding trajectories has remained obscure. Here we review recent efforts by our labs and others that are beginning to pry into this issue, with a focus on the chaperones trigger factor and Hsp70. Single-molecule methods are central, as they allow the stepwise process of folding to be followed directly. First results have already revealed contrasts with long-standing paradigms: rather than acting only “early” by stabilizing unfolded chain segments, these chaperones can bind and stabilize partially folded structures as they grow to their native state. The findings suggest a fundamental redefinition of the protein folding problem and a more extensive functional repertoire of chaperones than previously assumed.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Assessment of Local Heterogeneity in Mechanical Properties of Nanostructured Hydrogel Networks

Zhaokai Meng, Teena Thakur, Chandani Chitrakar, Manish K. Jaiswal, Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, and Vladislav V. Yakovlev

Our current understanding of the mechanical properties of nanostructured biomaterials is rather limited to invasive/destructive and low-throughput techniques such as atomic force microscopy, optical tweezers, and shear rheology. In this report, we demonstrate the capabilities of recently developed dual Brillouin/Raman spectroscopy to interrogate the mechanical and chemical properties of nanostructured hydrogel networks. The results obtained from Brillouin spectroscopy show an excellent correlation with the conventional uniaxial and shear mechanical testing. Moreover, it is confirmed that, unlike the macroscopic conventional mechanical measurement techniques, Brillouin spectroscopy can provide the elasticity characteristic of biomaterials at a mesoscale length, which is remarkably important for understanding complex cell–biomaterial interactions. The proposed technique experimentally demonstrated the capability of studying biomaterials in their natural environment and may facilitate future fabrication and inspection of biomaterials for various biomedical and biotechnological applications.


Polarization-Induced Chirality in Metamaterials via Optomechanical Interaction

Mingkai Liu, David A. Powell, Rui Guo, Ilya V. Shadrivov and Yuri S. Kivshar

A novel type of metamaterial is introduced, where the structural symmetry can be controlled by optical forces. Since symmetry sets fundamental bounds on the optical response, symmetry breaking changes the properties of metamaterials qualitatively over the entire resonant frequency band. This is achieved by a polarized pump beam, exerting optical forces which are not constrained by the structural symmetry. This new concept is illustrated for a metasurface composed of zig-zag chains of dipole meta-atoms, in which a highly asymmetric optical force exists for an appropriate incident polarization. The effect is employed to transform a planar achiral metasurface into a stereoscopic chiral structure. Importantly, the handedness of the induced chirality can be actively switched by changing the incident polarization. The proposed concept can be employed to achieve dynamic spatial control of metamaterials and metasurfaces at infrared and optical frequencies with subwavelength resolution.


Opto-thermophoretic assembly of colloidal matter

Linhan Lin, Jianli Zhang, Xiaolei Peng, Zilong Wu, Anna C. H. Coughlan, Zhangming Mao, Michael A. Bevan and Yuebing Zheng

Colloidal matter exhibits unique collective behaviors beyond what occurs at single-nanoparticle and atomic scales. Treating colloidal particles as building blocks, researchers are exploiting new strategies to rationally organize colloidal particles into complex structures for new functions and devices. Despite tremendous progress in directed assembly and self-assembly, a truly versatile assembly technique without specific functionalization of the colloidal particles remains elusive. We develop a new strategy to assemble colloidal matter under a light-controlled temperature field, which can solve challenges in the existing assembly techniques. By adding an anionic surfactant (that is, cetyltrimethylammonium chloride), which serves as a surface charge source, a macro ion, and a micellar depletant, we generate a light-controlled thermoelectric field to manipulate colloidal atoms and a depletion attraction force to assemble the colloidal atoms into two-dimensional (2D) colloidal matter. The general applicability of this opto-thermophoretic assembly (OTA) strategy allows us to build colloidal matter of diverse colloidal sizes (from subwavelength scale to micrometer scale) and materials (polymeric, dielectric, and metallic colloids) with versatile configurations and tunable bonding strengths and lengths. We further demonstrate that the incorporation of the thermoelectric field into the optical radiation force can achieve 3D reconfiguration of the colloidal matter. The OTA strategy releases the rigorous design rules required in the existing assembly techniques and enriches the structural complexity in colloidal matter, which will open a new window of opportunities for basic research on matter organization, advanced material design, and applications.


Repulsion–attraction switching of nematic colloids formed by liquid crystal dispersions of polygonal prisms

B. Senyuk, Q. Liu, P. D. Nystrom and I. I. Smalyukh

Self-assembly of colloidal particles due to elastic interactions in nematic liquid crystals promises tunable composite materials and can be guided by exploiting surface functionalization, geometric shape and topology, though these means of controlling self-assembly remain limited. Here, we realize low-symmetry achiral and chiral elastic colloids in the nematic liquid crystals using colloidal polygonal concave and convex prisms. We show that the controlled pinning of disclinations at the prism edges alters the symmetry of director distortions around the prisms and their orientation with respect to the far-field director. The controlled localization of the disclinations at the prism's edges significantly influences the anisotropy of the diffusion properties of prisms dispersed in liquid crystals and allows one to modify their self-assembly. We show that elastic interactions between polygonal prisms can be switched between repulsive and attractive just by controlled re-pinning the disclinations at different edges using laser tweezers. Our findings demonstrate that elastic interactions between colloidal particles dispersed in nematic liquid crystals are sensitive to the topologically equivalent but geometrically rich controlled configurations of the particle-induced defects.


Freezing shortens the lifetime of DNA molecules under tension

Wei-Ju Chung, Yujia Cui, Chi-Shuo Chen, Wesley H. Wei, Rong-Shing Chang, Wun-Yi Shu, Ian C. Hsu

DNA samples are commonly frozen for storage. However, freezing can compromise the integrity of DNA molecules. Considering the wide applications of DNA molecules in nanotechnology, changes to DNA integrity at the molecular level may cause undesirable outcomes. However, the effects of freezing on DNA integrity have not been fully explored. To investigate the impact of freezing on DNA integrity, samples of frozen and non-frozen bacteriophage lambda DNA were studied using optical tweezers. Tension (5–35 pN) was applied to DNA molecules to mimic mechanical interactions between DNA and other biomolecules. The integrity of the DNA molecules was evaluated by measuring the time taken for single DNA molecules to break under tension. Mean lifetimes were determined by maximum likelihood estimates and variances were obtained through bootstrapping simulations. Under 5 pN of force, the mean lifetime of frozen samples is 44.3 min with 95% confidence interval (CI) between 36.7 min and 53.6 min while the mean lifetime of non-frozen samples is 133.2 min (95% CI: 97.8–190.1 min). Under 15 pN of force, the mean lifetimes are 10.8 min (95% CI: 7.6–12.6 min) and 78.5 min (95% CI: 58.1–108.9 min). The lifetimes of frozen DNA molecules are significantly reduced, implying that freezing compromises DNA integrity. Moreover, we found that the reduced DNA structural integrity cannot be restored using regular ligation process. These results indicate that freezing can alter the structural integrity of the DNA molecules.


Ultrasensitive rotating photonic probes for complex biological systems

Shu Zhang, Lachlan J. Gibson, Alexander B. Stilgoe, Itia A. Favre-Bulle, Timo A. Nieminen, and Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop

We use rotational photonic tweezers to access local viscoelastic properties of complex fluids over a wide frequency range. This is done by monitoring both passive rotational Brownian motion and also actively driven transient rotation between two angular trapping states of a birefringent microsphere. These enable measurement of high- and low-frequency properties, respectively. Complex fluids arise frequently in microscopic biological systems, typically with length scales at the cellular level. Thus, high spatial resolution as provided by rotational photonic tweezers is important. We measure the properties of tear film on a contact lens and demonstrate variations in these properties between two subjects over time. We also show excellent agreement between our theoretical model and experimental results. We believe that this is the first time that active microrheology using rotating tweezers has been used for biologically relevant questions. Our method demonstrates potential for future applications to determine the spatial-temporal properties of biologically relevant and complex fluids that are only available in very small volumes.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Physical Probing of Cells

Florian Rehfeldt and Christoph F Schmidt

In the last two decades, it has become evident that the mechanical properties of the microenvironment of biological cells are as important as traditional biochemical cues for the control of cellular behavior and fate. The field of cell and matrix mechanics is quickly growing and so is the development of the experimental approaches used to study active and passive mechanical properties of cells and their surroundings. Within this topical review we will provide a brief overview, on the one hand, over how cellular mechanics can be probed physically, how different geometries allow access to different cellular properties, and, on the other hand, how forces are generated in cells and transmitted to the extracellular environment. We will describe the following experimental techniques: atomic force microscopy, traction force microscopy, magnetic tweezers, optical stretcher and optical tweezers pointing out both their advantages and limitations. Finally, we give an outlook on the future of physical probing of cells.


Spectral identification in the attogram regime through laser-induced emission of single optically-trapped nanoparticles in air

Pablo Purohit, Francisco J. Fortes, Javier Laserna

Current trends in nanoengineering are bringing along new structures of diverse chemical compositions that need to be meticulously defined in order to ensure their correct operation. Few methods can provide the sensitivity required to carry out measurements on individual nano objects without tedious sample pre-treatment or data analysis. In the present study, we introduce a pathway for the elemental identification of single nanoparticles (NPs) that avoids suspension in liquid media by means of optical trapping and laser-induced plasma spectroscopy. We demonstrate spectroscopic detection and identification of individual 25 to 70 nm in diameter Cu NPs stably trapped in air featuring masses down to 73 attograms. We found an increase in the absolute number of photons produced as size of the particles decreased; pointing towards a more efficient excitation of ensembles of only 7e+5 Cu atoms in the onset plasma.


Plasmonic trapping of nanoparticles by metaholograms

Guanghao Rui, Yanbao Ma, Bing Gu, Qiwen Zhan & Yiping Cui
Manipulation of nanoparticles in solution is of great importance for a wide range of applications in biomedical, environmental, and material sciences. In this work, we present a novel plasmonic tweezers based on metahologram. We show that various kinds of nanoparticles can be stably trapped in a surface plasmon (SP) standing wave generated by the constructive interference between two coherent focusing SPs. The absence of the axial scattering force and the enhanced gradient force enable to avoid overheating effect while maintaining mechanical stability even under the resonant condition of the metallic nanoparticle. The work illustrates the potential of such plasmonic tweezers for further development in lab-on-a-chip devices.


Label-Free Detection of Bacillus anthracis Spore Uptake in Macrophage Cells Using Analytical Optical Force Measurements

Colin G. Hebert, Sean Hart, Tomasz A. Leski, Alex Terray, and Qin Lu

Understanding the interaction between macrophage cells and Bacillus anthracis spores is of significant importance with respect to both anthrax disease progression, spore detection for biodefense, as well as understanding cell clearance in general. While most detection systems rely on specific molecules, such as nucleic acids or proteins and fluorescent labels to identify the target(s) of interest, label-free methods probe changes in intrinsic properties, such as size, refractive index, and morphology, for correlation with a particular biological event. Optical chromatography is a label free technique that uses the balance between optical and fluidic drag forces within a microfluidic channel to determine the optical force on cells or particles. Here we show an increase in the optical force experienced by RAW264.7 macrophage cells upon the uptake of both microparticles and B. anthracis Sterne 34F2 spores. In the case of spores, the exposure was detected in as little as 1 h without the use of antibodies or fluorescent labels of any kind. An increase in the optical force was also seen in macrophage cells treated with cytochalasin D, both with and without a subsequent exposure to spores, indicating that a portion of the increase in the optical force arises independent of phagocytosis. These results demonstrate the capability of optical chromatography to detect subtle biological differences in a rapid and sensitive manner and suggest future potential in a range of applications, including the detection of biological threat agents for biodefense and pathogens for the prevention of sepsis and other diseases.


Fabrication and application of a non-contact double-tapered optical fiber tweezers

Z.L. Liu, Y.X. Liu, Y. Tang, N. Zhang, F.P. Wu, and B. Zhang

A double-tapered optical fiber tweezers (DOFTs) was fabricated by a chemical etching called interfacial layer etching. In this method, the second taper angle (STA) of DOFTs can be controlled easily by the interfacial layer etching time. Application of the DOFTs to the optical trapping of the yeast cells was presented. Effects of the STA on the axile trapping efficiency and the trapping position were investigated experimentally and theoretically. The experimental results are good agreement with the theoretical ones. The results demonstrated that the non-contact capture can be realized for the large STA (e.g. 90 deg) and there was an optimal axile trapping efficiency as the STA increasing. In order to obtain a more accurate measurement result of the trapping force, a correction factor to Stokes drag coefficient was introduced. This work provided a way of designing and fabricating an optical fiber tweezers (OFTs) with a high trapping efficient or a non-contact capture.


Measurement of pH-dependent surface-enhanced hyper-Raman scattering at desired positions on yeast cells via optical trapping

Yasutaka Kitahama, Hiroaki Hayashi, Tamitake Itoh and Yukihiro Ozaki

Surface-enhanced hyper-Raman scattering (SEHRS) spectra were obtained at desired positions on yeast by focusing a continuous wave near-infrared laser beam while silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were simultaneously optically trapped. However, the optically trapped colloidal AgNP suspension bubbled up at the focusing point, preventing spectral measurement. In the case of optically trapped AgNPs functionalized with 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (p-MBA), surface-enhanced hyper-Rayleigh scattering was considerably strong, indicating the suppression of the photothermal conversion to form the bubble. Interestingly, the SEHRS peaks that are attributed not only to p-MBA, but also to other species, were very occasionally observed. They may be partly assigned to the β1,3 glucan and protein amide II band. The SEHRS peak at 1366 cm−1 was barely visible in the measurements of conventional baker's yeast even in the suspension (pH 9) despite the effects of high pH on p-MBA. In contrast, the SEHRS peak in the measurements of yeast for biological applications was occasionally observed at 1366 cm−1. This suggests that acidity is correlated with fermentation efficiency. At different positions on single yeast cells, the intensity of the SEHRS peak at 1366 cm−1 varied. This result represents the pH distribution on yeast.