Flow Cytometry pp 451-467 | Cite as

Optical Trapping: Instrumentation and Biological Applications

  • T. N. Buican
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 67)


Optical trapping, a new technique for the manipulation of microscopic particles, was invented in the late ’60s by Arthur Ashkin of AT&T Bell Labs. This technique, examples of which were first reported by Ashkin (1970), relies on the pressure created by one or more laser beams that are scattered by a microscopic object in order to trap, levitate, and move that object. As opposed to other trapping techniques, optical traps are intrinsically stable and very localized in their effects. As such, they can be incorporated into relatively simple devices that allow single cells, chromosomes, and other cell organelles to be accurately positioned and transported. Furthermore, optical trapping only requires low-intensity laser beams and can be operated at wavelengths at which absorption by the trapped particle is minimized. As reported in Ashkin and Dziedzic (1987) and Ashkin et al. (1987), the trapping laser beams seem to have negligible biological effects on most cells that have been optically trapped.


Cell Separation Optical Tweezer Optical Trap Optical Trapping Beam Momentum 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. N. Buican
    • 1
  1. 1.Cell Robotics, Inc.AlbuquerqueUSA

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