The principle of the optical tweezers is based on the fact that light beam has a pulse and when it its direction is changing it creates power.
The concept of a pulse comes from mechanics, where the body mass multiplied to its speed stand for the pulse. Speed is a vector that describes the magnitude and the direction. Hence, object motion happens under the influence of power, and the direction of the speed is connected to the shift of the power direction.
When a photon is projected on a non-transparent surface, then the pulse is just the light pressuring on this surface. However, when pointing the high-performing laser on the transparent particle, the light beam is diffracted – the direction of the light vector and as a result of the photons is changing. By analogy with the mechanics it is fair to say that the power shift will affect the particle in a way that it will move towards the highest insensitivity of the laser beam.
Insensitivity of the high-performing laser beam is the highest at the core and fades on the edges. The law of the insensitivity shift corresponds to the Gaussian distribution. That is why the particle stays at the core of the beam, and when the beam is focused it is “sucked in” by the beam and becomes “trapped”. This kind of three-dimension trap needs power of several mV.
By moving the focus it is possible to move the particles, creating different structures with them. Using the optical tweezers the scientists can trap a chromosome and then cut it for further research. Single-frequency laser system with 1064 nm wavelength is a good solution for trapping, and for cutting a green laser with 532 nm wavelength. Optical tweezers is the best tool for these kinds of manipulations; however, it has certain weaknesses.
First of all, the more the beam is focused the faster it radiates. This means that the power holding the particle fades very fast the further away it is from the trapping zone, and at the distance of several dozens of microns from the focus the power is insufficient to trap it again. Single beam trap is only useful to trap a single particle located in the focus area.
Second of all, laser beam changes after it reaches the object because of the diffraction, reflection or absorption. This also limits the distance of optical tweezers.
The more the beam radiates the harder it is to focus the optical system, and it is impossible to obtain the perfect parallel beam because of the diffraction. However, there is a type of light beams that are free from diffraction, they are called Bessel’s beams.
Regular Gauss beams are converted into Bessel beams with so called axion conical lens that focuses the High power single-frequency laser beam not into a dot, but into a line. Optical tweezers that use Bessel’s beam can trap particles located on a distance of 3 mm from each other. Single-frequency laser system with 1064 nm wavelength was used.
Optical tweezers allow measuring different mechanical properties of the DNA molecules. It is currently used to transplant genes into cells, and also for invitro fertilization.
Optromix offers high-performing lasers that are perfect for optical tweezers.