16 September 2016 Probing the interaction between two microspheres in a single Gaussian beam optical trap
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Interactions between trapped microspheres have been studied in two geometries so far: (i) using line optical tweezers and (ii) in traps using two counter propagating laser beams. In both trap geometries, the stable inter bead separations have been attributed to optical binding. One could also trap two such beads in a single beam Gaussian laser trap. While there are reports that address this configuration through theoretical or simulation based treatments, there has so far been no detailed experimental work that measures the interactions.

In this work, we have recorded simultaneously the fluctuation spectra of two beads trapped along the laser propagation direction in a single Gaussian beam trap by measuring the back scattered signal from the trapping and a tracking laser beam that are counter propagating . The backscattering from the trapping laser monitors the bead encountered earlier in the propagation path. The counter propagating tracking laser, on the other hand, is used to monitor the fluctuations of the second bead. Detection is by using quadrant photo detectors placed at either end. The autocorrelation functions of both beads reveal marked departures from that obtained when there is only one bead in the trap. Moreover, the fall-off profiles of the autocorrelation indicates the presence of more than one relaxation time. This indicates a method of detecting the presence of a second bead in a trap without directly carrying out measurements on it. Further, a careful analysis of the relaxation times could also reveal the nature of interactions between the beads.
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Praveen Parthasarathi, Praveen Parthasarathi, Shruthi Subhash Iyengar, Shruthi Subhash Iyengar, Yogesha Lakkegowda, Yogesha Lakkegowda, Sarbari Bhattacharya, Sarbari Bhattacharya, Sharath Ananthamurthy, Sharath Ananthamurthy, "Probing the interaction between two microspheres in a single Gaussian beam optical trap", Proc. SPIE 9922, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIII, 99222M (16 September 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2237600; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237600

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