We have recently demonstrated how holographic optical tweezers can be used to build and dynamically manipulate extended 3-D structures. Although successful trapping can be maintained even when a large number of traps are simultaneously manipulated, in general a gradual degradation of trap quality is observed as the number of traps increased. This degradation is partly attributed to the increased 3-D size of the structures. To build and control such large structures the high numerical aperture focusing objective lens has to operate away from its design conjugate for most of the traps, and therefore aberrations will be significant even for high quality objective lenses. A second effect is the decreasing efficiency of the liquid crystal spatial light modulators as they are required to display holograms that contain high spatial frequencies. However these factors do not appear to account fully for the observed weakening of the traps, and it is likely that a reduction of contrast in the trapping optical field also plays an important role. We examine the effects individual optical traps have on each other when they are in close proximity. Techniques that may be used to mitigate the reduced contrast will also be discussed.
SNARF-1 fluorochrome was used to functionalize 3μm diameter latex spheres making them sensitive to the pH of their environment, manifested as a change in their fluorescence. The fluorescence emission at 580nm was excited using a filtered xenon arc lamp at 515nm. A solution of functionalized latex spheres was placed between gold microelectrodes in a microfluidic channel. Optical tweezers were used to trap and manipulate the spheres in the vicinity of the microelectrodes, to map out the pH profile in the electrolyte solution, induced by passing 20 microsecond transient current pulses through the microelectrodes.
We have developed an interactive user-interface that can be used to generate phase holograms for use with spatial light modulators. The program utilises different hologram design techniques allowing the user to select an appropriate algorithm. The program can be used to generate multiple beams, interference patterns and can be used for beam steering. We therefore see a major application of the program to be within optical tweezers to control the position, number and type of optical traps.
We use holographic optical tweezers to trap multiple micron-sized objects and manipulate them in 3-dimensions. Trapping multiple objects allow us to create 3-dimensional structures, examples of which include; simple cubes which can be rotated or scaled, complex crystal structures like the diamond lattice or interactive 3-dimensional control of trapped particles anywhere in the sample volume.
The micromanipulation of objects into 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional geometries within holographic optical tweezers is carried out using a modified Gerchberg-Saxton algorithm. The modified algorithm calculates phase hologram sequences, used to reconfigure the geometries of optical traps in several planes simultaneously. The hologram sequences are calculated automatically from the initial, intermediate and final trap positions. Manipulation of multiple objects in this way is semi-automated, once the traps in their initial positions are loaded.