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Opt Lett. 2010 Sep 1;35(17):2949-51. doi: 10.1364/OL.35.002949.

Passive torque wrench and angular position detection using a single-beam optical trap.

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Department of Physics, Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The recent advent of angular optical trapping techniques has allowed for rotational control and direct torque measurement on biological substrates. Here we present a method that increases the versatility and flexibility of these techniques. We demonstrate that a single beam with a rapidly rotating linear polarization can be utilized to apply a constant controllable torque to a trapped particle without active feedback, while simultaneously measuring the particle angular position. In addition, this device can rapidly switch between a torque wrench and an angular trap. These features should make possible torsional measurements across a wide range of biological systems.

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