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Opt Express. 2011 Oct 24;19(22):21627-42. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.021627.

Fast parallel interferometric 3D tracking of numerous optically trapped particles and their hydrodynamic interaction.

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  • 1Laboratory for Bio- and Nano- Photonics, Department of Microsystems Engineering-IMTEK, University of Freiburg, Georges Köhler Allee 102, 79110 Freiburg, Germany.


Multi-dimensional, correlated particle tracking is a key technology to reveal dynamic processes in living and synthetic soft matter systems. In this paper we present a new method for tracking micron-sized beads in parallel and in all three dimensions - faster and more precise than existing techniques. Using an acousto-optic deflector and two quadrant-photo-diodes, we can track numerous optically trapped beads at up to tens of kHz with a precision of a few nanometers by back-focal plane interferometry. By time-multiplexing the laser focus, we can calibrate individually all traps and all tracking signals in a few seconds and in 3D. We show 3D histograms and calibration constants for nine beads in a quadratic arrangement, although trapping and tracking is easily possible for more beads also in arbitrary 2D arrangements. As an application, we investigate the hydrodynamic coupling and diffusion anomalies of spheres trapped in a 3 × 3 arrangement.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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