Particle tracking stereomicroscopy in optical tweezers: Control of trap shape

Richard Bowman, Graham M. Gibson, Miles J. Padgett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (SciVal)


We present an optical system capable of generating stereoscopic images to track trapped particles in three dimensions. Two-dimensional particle tracking on each image yields three dimensional position information. Our approach allows the use of a high numerical aperture (NA= 1.3) objective and large separation angle, such that particles can be tracked axially with resolution of 3nm at 340Hz. Spatial Light Modulators (SLMs), the diffractive elements used to steer and split laser beams in Holographic Optical Tweezers, are also capable of more general operations. We use one here to vary the ratio of lateral to axial trap stiffness by changing the shape of the beam at the back aperture of the microscope objective. Beams which concentrate their optical power at the extremes of the back aperture give rise to much more efficient axial trapping. The flexibility of using an SLM allows us to create multiple traps with different shapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11785-11790
Number of pages6
JournalOptics Express
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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