Light-induced cell separation in a tailored optical landscape

Lynn Paterson*, Eirini Papagiakoumou, Graham Milne, Veneranda Garces-Chavez, S. A. Tatarkova, Wilson Sibbett, Frank J. Gunn-Moore, P. E. Bryant, Andrew C. Riches, Kishan Dholakia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate passive optical sorting of cell populations in the absence of any externally driven fluid flow. Specifically, we report the movement of erythrocytes and lymphocytes in an optical landscape, consisting of a circularly symmetric light pattern created by a Bessel light beam. These distinct cell populations move, spontaneously and differentially, across the underlying periodic optical landscape. Thus, we were able to separate lymphocytes from a mixed population of cells containing erythrocytes and then collect the lymphocytes in a microcapillary reservoir. We also demonstrate an enhanced form of this separation that exploits the polarizability of silica microspheres by attaching spheres coated with antibodies to cell surface markers to a subpopulation of lymphocytes. These techniques may be applied using standard laboratory apparatus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123901
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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