Optical Tweezers

Authored by: Phil Jones

Encyclopedia of Optical and Photonic Engineering

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9781439850978
eBook ISBN: 9781351247184
Adobe ISBN:


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Optical tweezers are devices that use a single, strongly focused laser beam for the remote, noncontact trapping and manipulation of microscopic objects. Since the first demonstration of optical tweezers in 1986, they have become commonly used across physics, chemistry, and biology for experiments as diverse as measuring the step size of motor proteins to a demonstration of fluctuations in entropy production in microscopic systems. In this entry, the mechanism behind optical tweezers is introduced, followed by a discussion of practical aspects in the use of optical tweezers, such as data collection and analysis for quantitative measurements, and the use of holographic optical traps. Also, a review of one of the many applications of optical tweezers is presented, namely, the optical trapping of nanoparticles and nanostructures and their use for imaging and force sensing.

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