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Phys Rev Lett. 2000 Jun 5;84(23):5451-4.

Optical deformability of soft biological dielectrics.

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  • 1Center for Nonlinear Dynamics, Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


Two counterpropagating laser beams were used to significantly stretch soft dielectrics such as cells. The deforming forces act on the surface between the object and the surrounding medium and are considerably higher than the trapping forces on the object. Radiation damage is avoided since a double-beam trap does not require focusing for stable trapping. Ray optics was used to describe the stress profile on the surface of the trapped object. Measuring the total forces and deformations of well-defined elastic objects validated this approach.

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