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Anal Chem. 2000 Jun 1;72(11):2414-7.

Determination of motility forces of bovine sperm cells using an "optical funnel".

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Department of Chemical Systems and Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


An optical funnel, a new technique for the evaluation of the force of a microorganism, was applied to the determination of the motility force of bovine sperm cells. In this approach, sperm cells, suspended in an aqueous solution, are introduced into a flow cell, to which radiation pressure is applied from the direction opposite to a medium flow. The sperm cell, which is moving in a stream, is captured by radiation pressure and forced to move to the position at which the force induced by the laser radiation is equal to the force induced by a medium flow. The sperm cell then escapes by its own power on the way to this equilibrium (entrapping) position. The radiation force increases with decreasing distance from the focal point, and as a result, the force of the sperm cell can be determined by measuring the position where the sperm cell escaped against the laser irradiation field. The motility force of the sperm cell was measured in aqueous solution at different pH values and potassium ion concentrations. It was possible to measure more than 250 sperm cells in 3 h. Thus, the optical funnel has potential for use as a rapid and repetitive means for the determination of the motility force of the sperm cell.

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