20 August 2009 Optical "snowblowing" of microparticles and cells in a microfluidc environment using Airy and parabolic wavepackets
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The year 2007 witnessed the experimental realization of extraordinary laser beams termed Airy and parabolic beams. Surprisingly, these beams are immune to diffraction and in addition exhibit transverse acceleration while propagating. This peculiar property of both Airy and parabolic beams facilitates the clearance of both microparticles and cells from a region in a sample chamber through particle/cell transport along curved trajectories. We term this concept "Optically mediated particle clearing" (OMPC) and, alternatively, "Optical redistribution" (OR) in the presence of a microfluidic environment, where particles and cells are propelled over micrometersized walls. Intuitively, Airy and parabolic beams act as a form of micrometer-sized "snowblower" attracting microparticles or cells at the bottom of a sample chamber to blow them in an arc to another region of the sample. In this work, we discuss the performance and limitations of OMPC and OR which are currently based on a single Airy beam optionally fed by a single parabolic beam. A possible strategy to massively enhance the performance of OMPC and OR is based on large arrays of Airy beams. We demonstrate the first experimental realization of such arrays.
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Jörg Baumgartl, Jörg Baumgartl, Gregor M. Hannappel, Gregor M. Hannappel, David J. Stevenson, David J. Stevenson, Michael Mazilu, Michael Mazilu, Daniel Day, Daniel Day, Min Gu, Min Gu, Kishan Dholakia, Kishan Dholakia, } "Optical "snowblowing" of microparticles and cells in a microfluidc environment using Airy and parabolic wavepackets", Proc. SPIE 7400, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI, 74001R (20 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.826193; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.826193

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