Fashioning microscopic tools

David B. Phillips*, Graeme Whyte, David M. Carberry, Simon Hanna, Mervyn J. Miles, Miles J. Padgett, Stephen H. Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

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

3 Citations (Scopus)


By moulding optical fields, holographic optical tweezers are able to generate structured force fields with magnitudes and length scales of great utility for experiments in soft matter and biological physics. Optically induced force fields are determined not only by the incident optical field, but by the shape and composition of the particles involved. Indeed, there are desirable but simple attributes of a force field, such as rotational control, that cannot be introduced by sculpting optical fields alone. In this work we describe techniques for the fabrication, sample preparation, optical manipulation and position and orientation measurement of non-spherical particles. We demonstrate two potential applications: we show how the motion of a non-spherical optically trapped force probe can be used to infer interactions occurring at its tip, and we also demonstrate a structure designed to be controllably rotated about an axis perpendicular to the optical axis of the beam.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X
EditorsKishan Dholakia, Gabriel C Spalding
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 25 Aug 201329 Aug 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • 2-Photon Polymerisation
  • Direct Laser Writing
  • Holographic Optical Tweezers
  • Optical Trapping
  • Stereo Microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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