Author(s): Astrid van der Horst and Nancy R. Forde


“Holographic optical tweezers (HOTs) enable the manipulation of multiple traps independently in three dimensions in real time. Application of this technique to force measurements requires calibration of trap stiffness and its position dependence. Here, we determine the trap stiffness of HOTs as they are steered in two dimensions. To do this, we trap a single particle in a multiple-trap configuration and analyze the power spectrum of the laser deflection on a position-sensitive photodiode. With this method, the relative trap strengths can be determined independent of exact particle size, and high stiffnesses can be probed because of the high bandwidth of the photodiode. We find a trap stiffness for each of three HOT traps of ? ~26 pN/µm per 100 mW of laser power. Importantly, we find that this stiffness remains constant within ± 4% over 20µm displacements of a trap. We also investigate the minimum step size achievable when steering a trap with HOTs, and find that traps can be stepped and detected within ~2 nm i our instrument, although there is an underlying position modulation of the traps of comparable scale that arises from SLM addressing. The independence of trap stiffness on steering angle over wide ranges and the nanometer positioning accuracy of HOTs demonstrate the applicability of this technique to quantitative study of force response of extended biomaterials such as cells or elastomeric protein networks.”

Link to Publications Page

Publication: Optics Express (free download)

Issue/Year/DOI: Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 25, pp. 20987-21003