Dual-beam laser traps in biology and medicine: When one beam is not enough

Graeme Whyte*, Franziska Lautenschläger, Moritz Kreysing, Lars Boyde, Andrew Ekpenyong, Ulysse Delabre, Kevin Chalut, Kristian Franze, Jochen Guck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)


Optical traps are nowadays quite ubiquitous in biophysical and biological studies. The term is often used synonymously with optical tweezers, one particular incarnation of optical traps. However, there is another kind of optical trap consisting of two non-focused, counter-propagating laser beams. This dual-beam trap predates optical tweezers by almost two decades and currently experiences a renaissance. The advantages of dual-beam traps include lower intensities on the trapped object, decoupling from imaging optics, and the possibility to trap cells and cell clusters up to 100 microns in diameter. When used for deforming cells this trap is referred to as an optical stretcher. I will review several applications of such traps in biology and medicine for the detection of cancer cells, sorting stem cells, testing light guiding properties of retinal cells and the controlled rotation of cells for single cell tomography.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VII
ISBN (Print)9780819482587
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2010
EventSPIE NanoScience + Engineering 2010 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 1 Aug 20105 Aug 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceSPIE NanoScience + Engineering 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Cell mechanics
  • Optical cell rotator
  • Optical stretcher
  • Optical trap
  • Optical tweezers
  • Retina optics
  • Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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