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Opt Express. 2011 Apr 25;19(9):8051-65. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.008051.

Measuring translational, rotational, and vibrational dynamics in colloids with digital holographic microscopy.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


We discuss a new method for simultaneously probing translational, rotational, and vibrational dynamics in dilute colloidal suspensions using digital holographic microscopy (DHM). We record digital holograms of clusters of 1-μm-diameter colloidal spheres interacting through short-range attractions, and we fit the holograms to an exact model of the scattering from multiple spheres. The model, based on the T-matrix formulation, accounts for multiple scattering and near-field coupling. We also explicitly account for the non-asymptotic radial decay of the scattered fields, allowing us to accurately fit holograms recorded with the focal plane located as little as 15 μm from the particle. Applying the fitting technique to a time-series of holograms of Brownian dimers allows simultaneous measurement of six dynamical modes - three translational, two rotational, and one vibrational - on timescales ranging from 10(-3) to 1 s. We measure the translational and rotational diffusion constants to a precision of 0.6%, and we use the vibrational data to measure the interaction potential between the spheres to a precision of ∼50 nm in separation distance. Finally, we show that the fitting technique can be used to measure dynamics of clusters containing three or more spheres.

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