Advanced optical tweezers for the study of cellular and molecular biomechanics

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2003 Jan;50(1):121-5. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2002.805463.


Optical tweezers are an important tool for studying cellular and molecular biomechanics. We present a robust optical tweezers device with advanced features including: multiple optical traps, acousto-optic trap steering, and back focal plane interferometry position detection. We integrate these features into an upright microscope, with no compromise to its capabilities (differential interference contrast microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, etc.). Acousto-optic deflectors (AODs) steer each beam and can create multiple time-shared traps. Position detection, force calibrations and AOD performance are presented. The system can detect subnanometer displacements and forces below 0.1 pN.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Calibration
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Elasticity
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Flow Cytometry / instrumentation
  • Interferometry / instrumentation*
  • Lasers*
  • Micromanipulation / instrumentation*
  • Micromanipulation / methods
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Molecular Biology / instrumentation
  • Motion
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Optics and Photonics / instrumentation*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Transducers*