Author(s): Ashkin A
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Abstract We calculate the forces of single-beam gradient radiation pressure laser traps, also called "optical tweezers," on micron-sized dielectric spheres in the ray optics regime. This serves as a simple model system for describing laser trapping and manipulation of living cells and organelles within cells. The gradient and scattering forces are defined for beams of complex shape in the ray-optics limit. Forces are calculated over the entire cross-section of the sphere using TEM(00) and TEM(01) (*) mode input intensity profiles and spheres of varying index of refraction. Strong uniform traps are possible with force variations less than a factor of 2 over the sphere cross-section. For a laser power of 10 mW and a relative index of refraction of 1.2 we compute trapping forces as high as approximately 1.2 x 10(-6) dynes in the weakest (backward) direction of the gradient trap. It is shown that good trapping requires high convergence beams from a high numerical aperture objective. A comparison is given of traps made using bright field or differential interference contrast optics and phase contrast optics.
This article was published in Biophys J
and referenced in Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics