Optical tweezing is a non-invasive technique that can enable a variety of single cell experiments; however, it tends to be based on a high numerical aperture (NA) microscope objective to both deliver the tweezing laser light and image the sample. This introduces restrictions in system flexibility when both trapping and imaging. Here, we demonstrate a novel, high NA tweezing system based on micro-machined multicore optical fibers. Using the machined, multicore fiber tweezer, cells are optically manipulated under a variety of microscopes, without requiring a high NA objective lens. The maximum NA of the fiber-based tweezer demonstrated is 1.039. A stable trap with a maximum total power 30 mW has been characterized to exert a maximum optical force of 26.4 pN, on a trapped, 7 μm diameter yeast cell. Single cells are held 15-35 μm from the fiber end and can be manipulated in the x, y and z directions throughout the sample. In this way, single cells are controllably trapped under a Raman microscope to categorize the yeast cells as live or dead, demonstrating trapping by the machined multicore fiber-based tweezer decoupled from the imaging or excitation objective lens.
Anastasiadi, G., Leonard, M., Paterson, L., & MacPherson, W. N. (2018). Fabrication and characterization of machined multi-core fiber tweezers for single cell manipulation. Optics Express, 26(3), 3557-3567. https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.26.003557