Optical-Tweezers-Based Microrheology of Soft Materials and Living Cells

Reference work entry


Optical tweezers [1] use a highly focused laser beam to form a stable trap to confine one or more micron- or nano-sized particles in three-dimensional space, enabling noninvasive manipulation, without any mechanical contact, of microscopic probe particles embedded in a sample. Since its first demonstration in 1986 by Ashkin et al. [2], single-beam optical tweezers have been used to manipulate microscopic objects such as colloidal particles [3], biomolecules [4, 5], and biological cells [6–9]. In addition, optical tweezers have also been used as pico-Newton force transducers to measure the strength of molecular bonds [10] and to determine the transmission of forces in the microscopic environment of complex fluids [11–14]. Combining the ability to manipulate microparticles with force measurement, optical tweezers have been used to study the micromechanical properties of soft materials [15, 16], such as colloidal crystals [17–20], liquid crystals [21–23], carbon nanotube suspensions [24], actin-coated lipid vesicles [25–27], living cells [28–33], cytoskeletal networks [34–37], DNA networks [38, 39], polymer solutions [40–42], collagen gels [43, 44], human erythrocyte membranes [45–49], and even individual strands of DNA molecules [5, 50].


Optical Tweezer Viscoelastic Medium Probe Particle Optical Force Complex Shear Modulus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ming-Tzo Wei
    • 1
  • Olga Latinovic
    • 2
  • Lawrence A. Hough
    • 3
  • Yin-Quan Chen
    • 4
  • H. Daniel Ou-Yang
    • 1
    • 5
  • Arthur Chiou
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Bioengineering ProgramLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Human VirologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Complex Assemblies of Soft Matter LabUMI 3254 CNRS/UPENN/RhodiaBristolUSA
  4. 4.Institute of BiophotonicsNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of PhysicsLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  6. 6.Biophotonics and Molecular Imaging Research CenterNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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