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Integr Biol (Camb). 2009 Jan;1(1):43-52. doi: 10.1039/b815253e. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Raman tweezers and their application to the study of singly trapped eukaryotic cells.

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  • 1Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, UK.


In this review the recent emergence of Raman tweezers as an analytical technique for single eukaryotic cell analysis is described. The Raman tweezer technique combines Raman spectroscopy as a diagnostic tool with optical tweezers by which means single cells can be trapped and manipulated in a laser beam using a high numerical aperture imaging microscope. Necessary instrumental requirements to facilitate Raman tweezer experiments are discussed together with practical considerations such as the potential for photodamage of cells subjected to trapping and Raman excitation. Specific applications of Raman tweezers to the analysis of cancer cells, erythrocytes and lymphocytes, micro-organisms and sub-cellular components e.g.chromosomes and mitochondria are then discussed followed by a summary of the future potential of the technique for single cell analysis.

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