Optical micro manipulation of live cells has been extensively used to study a wide range of cellular phenomena with relevance in basic research or in diagnostics. The approaches span from manipulation of many cells for high throughput measurement or sorting, to more elaborated studies of intracellular events on trapped single cells when coupled with modern imaging techniques. In case of direct cell trapping the damaging effects of light-cell interaction must be minimized, for instance with the choice of proper laser wavelength. Microbeads have already been used for trapping cells indirectly thereby reducing the irradiation damage and increasing trapping efficiency with their high refractive index contrast. We show here that such intermediate objects can be tailor-made for indirect cell trapping to further increase cell-to-focal spot distance while maintaining their free and fast maneuverability. Carefully designed structures were produced with two-photon polymerization with shapes optimized for effective manipulation and cell attachment. Functionalization of the microstructures is also presented that enables cell attachment to them within a few seconds with strength much higher that the optical forces. Fast cell actuation in 6 degrees of freedom is demonstrated with the outlook to possible applications in cell imaging.
We demonstrate the use of microfabricated supporting structures for maneuvering and supporting polystyrene microspheres for use as magnifying lenses in imaging applications. The supporting structure isolates the trapping light from the magnifier, hence avoiding direct radiation to the sample being observed which could be damaging, especially for biological specimens. Using an optical trapping setup, we demonstrate the actuation of a microsphere not held by optical traps, and show the possibility of imaging through such microspheres.