Optical Tweezers: A Comprehensive Tutorial from Calibration to Applications on ArXiv

Schematic of a bistable potential generated with a double-beam optical tweezers.

Optical Tweezers: A Comprehensive Tutorial from Calibration to Applications
Jan Gieseler, Juan Ruben Gomez-Solano, Alessandro Magazzù, Isaac Pérez Castillo, Laura Pérez García, Marta Gironella-Torrent, Xavier Viader-Godoy, Felix Ritort, Giuseppe Pesce, Alejandro V. Arzola, Karen Volke-Sepulveda & Giovanni Volpe
arXiv: 2004.05246

Since their invention in 1986 by Arthur Ashkin and colleagues, optical tweezers have become an essential tool in several fields of physics, spectroscopy, biology, nanotechnology, and thermodynamics. In this Tutorial, we provide a primer on how to calibrate optical tweezers and how to use them for advanced applications. After a brief general introduction on optical tweezers, we focus on describing and comparing the various available calibration techniques. Then, we discuss some cutting-edge applications of optical tweezers in a liquid medium, namely to study single-molecule and single-cell mechanics, microrheology, colloidal interactions, statistical physics, and transport phenomena. Finally, we consider optical tweezers in vacuum, where the absence of a viscous medium offers vastly different dynamics and presents new challenges. We conclude with some perspectives for the field and the future application of optical tweezers. This Tutorial provides both a step-by-step guide ideal for non-specialists entering the field and a comprehensive manual of advanced techniques useful for expert practitioners. All the examples are complemented by the sample data and software necessary to reproduce them.

FORMA – Enhanced Optical Tweezers Calibration published in Nature Commun.

High-Performance Reconstruction of Microscopic Force Fields from Brownian Trajectories

High-Performance Reconstruction of Microscopic Force Fields from Brownian Trajectories
Laura Pérez García, Jaime Donlucas Pérez, Giorgio Volpe, Alejandro V. Arzola & Giovanni Volpe
Nature Communications 9, 5166 (2018)
doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07437-x
arXiv: 1808.05468

The accurate measurement of microscopic force fields is crucial in many branches of science and technology, from biophotonics and mechanobiology to microscopy and optomechanics. These forces are often probed by analysing their influence on the motion of Brownian particles. Here we introduce a powerful algorithm for microscopic force reconstruction via maximum-likelihood-estimator analysis (FORMA) to retrieve the force field acting on a Brownian particle from the analysis of its displacements. FORMA estimates accurately the conservative and non-conservative components of the force field with important advantages over established techniques, being parameter-free, requiring ten-fold less data and executing orders-of-magnitude faster. We demonstrate FORMA performance using optical tweezers, showing how, outperforming other available techniques, it can identify and characterise stable and unstable equilibrium points in generic force fields. Thanks to its high performance, FORMA can accelerate the development of microscopic and nanoscopic force transducers for physics, biology and engineering.

See also freeware software at 10.6084/m9.figshare.7181888

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Alejandro V. Arzola visits the Soft Matter Lab. Welcome!

Alejandro V. Arzola is a Visiting Professor from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. His visiting position is financed through the Linnaeus Palme International Exchange Programme.

Alejandro was born in Oaxaca in the south of Mexico. He studied for a PhD at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City, worked as a posdoctoral researcher at the Institutte of Scientific Instruments in Brno, Czech Republic, and at UNAM. Since 2014 he joined the group of Optical Micromanipulation at the Institute of Physics in UNAM.

He is interested in optical micromanipulation and related research fields. His latest research deals with the transport of Brownian particles in optical landscapes under breaking space-time symmetries, a system which is known in the literature as ratchets. He is also interested in the behavior of microscopic particles in structured light fields with spin and orbital angular momentum.