The International Space Station (ISS) is an unparalleled laboratory for studying colloidal suspensions in microgravity. The first colloidal experiments on the ISS involved passive observation of suspended particles, and current experiments are now capable of observation under controlled environmental conditions; for example, under heating or under externally applied magnetic or electric fields. Here, we describe the design of a holographic optical tweezers (HOT) module for the ISS, with the goal of giving ISS researchers the ability to actively control 3D arrangements of particles, allowing them to initialize and perform repeatable experiments. We discuss the design’s modifications to the basic HOT module hardware to allow for operation in a high-vibration, microgravity environment. We also discuss the module’s planned particle tracking and routing capabilities, which will enable the module to remotely perform pre-programmed colloidal and biological experiments. The HOT module’s capabilities can be expanded or upgraded through software alone, providing a unique platform for optical trapping researchers to test new tweezing beam configurations and routines in microgravity.
J. Shane, R. Serati, H. Masterson, and Steve Serati, "A holographic optical tweezers module for the International Space Station," Proc. SPIE 9922, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIII, 992222 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: September 01, 2016; Published: 16 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238984.
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