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Opt Lett. 2005 Jul 15;30(14):1797-9.

Optical levitation and manipulation of stuck particles with pulsed optical tweezers.

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Department of Physics, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27858-4353, USA.


We report on optical levitation and manipulation of microscopic particles that are stuck on a glass surface with pulsed optical tweezers. An infrared pulse laser at 1.06 microm was used to generate a large gradient force (up to 10(-9) N) within a short duration (approximately 45 micros) that overcomes the adhesive interaction between the particles and the glass surface. Then a low-power continuous-wave diode laser at 785 nm was used to capture and manipulate the levitated particle. We have demonstrated that both stuck dielectric and biological micrometer-sized particles, including polystyrene beads, yeast cells, and Bacillus cereus bacteria, can be levitated and manipulated with this technique. We measured the single-pulse levitation efficiency for 2.0 microm polystyrene beads as a function of the pulse energy and of the axial displacement from the stuck particle to the pulsed laser focus, which was as high as 88%.

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