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Opt Express. 2008 Sep 1;16(18):13831-44.

Optical trapping of coated microspheres.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.

Abstract

In an optical trap, micron-sized dielectric particles are held by a tightly focused laser beam. The optical force on the particle is composed of an attractive gradient force and a destabilizing scattering force. We hypothesized that using anti-reflection-coated microspheres would reduce scattering and lead to stronger trapping. We found that homogeneous silica and polystyrene microspheres had a sharp maximum trap stiffness at a diameter of around 800 nm--the trapping laser wavelength in water--and that a silica coating on a polystyrene microsphere was a substantial improvement for larger diameters. In addition, we noticed that homogeneous spheres of a correct size demonstrated anti-reflective properties. Our results quantitatively agreed with Mie scattering calculations and serve as a proof of principle. We used a DNA stretching experiment to confirm the large linear range in detection and force of the coated microspheres and performed a high-force motor protein assay. These measurements show that the surfaces of the coated microspheres are compatible with biophysical assays.

PMID:
18772994
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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