Passive torque wrench and angular position detection using a single-beam optical trap

Opt Lett. 2010 Sep 1;35(17):2949-51. doi: 10.1364/OL.35.002949.


The recent advent of angular optical trapping techniques has allowed for rotational control and direct torque measurement on biological substrates. Here we present a method that increases the versatility and flexibility of these techniques. We demonstrate that a single beam with a rapidly rotating linear polarization can be utilized to apply a constant controllable torque to a trapped particle without active feedback, while simultaneously measuring the particle angular position. In addition, this device can rapidly switch between a torque wrench and an angular trap. These features should make possible torsional measurements across a wide range of biological systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Optical Tweezers*
  • Rotation