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Opt Express. 2011 May 9;19(10):9908-14. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.009908.

Position clamping in a holographic counterpropagating optical trap.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, SUPA, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK.


Optical traps consisting of two counterpropagating, divergent beams of light allow relatively high forces to be exerted along the optical axis by turning off one beam, however the axial stiffness of the trap is generally low due to the lower numerical apertures typically used. Using a high speed spatial light modulator and CMOS camera, we demonstrate 3D servocontrol of a trapped particle, increasing the stiffness from 0.004 to 1.5 μN m(-1). This is achieved in the "macro-tweezers" geometry [Thalhammer, J. Opt. 13, 044024 (2011); Pitzek, Opt. Express 17, 19414 (2009)], which has a much larger field of view and working distance than single-beam tweezers due to its lower numerical aperture requirements. Using a 10×, 0.2 NA objective, active feedback produces a trap with similar effective stiffness to a conventional single-beam gradient trap, of order 1 μN m(-1) in 3D. Our control loop has a round-trip latency of 10 ms, leading to a resonance at 20 Hz. This is sufficient bandwidth to reduce the position fluctuations of a 10 μm bead due to Brownian motion by two orders of magnitude. This approach can be trivially extended to multiple particles, and we show three simultaneously position-clamped beads.

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