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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

Contents
1 Introduction 2

2 Theory 2

3 Experimental realization 4
3.1 Experimental Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3.2 Alignment of the setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3.3 Calibration of the system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3.4 Measurement of the trapping forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

4 Results 5
4.1 Output power of the laser diode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
4.2 Losses of optical system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
4.3 Maximum trapping velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
4.4 Effective laser power in the focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
4.5 Trapping force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
4.6 Relation of maximum trapping velocity, trapping force and focus laser power . . . . 14
4.7 Trapping efficiency Q . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

5 Discussion 16
5.1 Output power of the laser diode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5.2 Losses of optical system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5.3 Maximum trapping velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5.4 Effective laser power in the focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5.5 Relation of maximum trapping velocity, trapping force and focus laser power . . . . 16
5.6 Trapping efficiency Q . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
5.7 Errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
5.8 Main findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

6 Conclusions 18

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

1 Introduction
Optical tweezers were developed by Ashkin and co-workers, who in 1986 created the first stable
three dimensional trap with a single focused laser beam [1]. This technique was quickly implemented
in many laboratories and only a few years later a wide range of applications emerged, starting from
the physical sciences as trapping neutral cooled atoms, to the experimentation of biological samples,
like studying the DNA mechanical properties, measure the forces exerted by molecular motors and
more recently, performing cell nanosurgery [2].
Our goals in this experiment are to characterize our laser diode source and to understand the physics
behind optical trapping. We use one optical tweezer to trap particles in two different concentrations
in order to study the strength of such a trapping force. Finally, we will determine the efficiency of
the optical tweezer under study.

2 Theory
Optical trapping allows to manipulate microscopic samples with a focused laser beam, thanks to the
radiation pressure that light exerts on material particles. The light-matter interaction is originated
by the change in the lights momentum when it is scattered by an object. Hence, when a ray meets
a surface between two media of different refractive indexes, there is a change in the direction of the
momentum of light p, which originates a force F on it:

d~
p
= F~ (1)
dt
This momentum change results in a net force on the object, which is usually splitted in two per-
pendicular components:

1. The scattering force: Pushes the particle in the direction of propagation of the beam in
proportion to its intensity, resulting in a net force in the forward direction.

2. The gradient force: Pulls the particle towards the laser focus where the light intensity is
the highest. Therefore, the object experiences a force in the direction of the electrical field
gradient[3].

Regarding this, it is easy to imagine that effective and stable trapping occurs when gradient forces
are higher than scattering forces, situation where the object remains stably trapped at the point
of highest intensity in the light beam (that typically has a Gaussian intensity profile). This point
is at the plane of the beam waist 0 where a very steep intensity gradient is achieved by sharply
focusing the light beam, using a high NA (numerical aperture) microscope objective immersed in
oil or water. A sketch of this description is presented in figure 1.

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

Figure 1: Sketch of the net force of a particle in the waist of a Gaussian beam.

In general, and specially when the size of the particle r is comparable to the wavelength of the
trapping light beam , the full theory of optical tweezers is quite complex and complete electro-
magnetic theories are required to supply an accurate description [4]. However, if these magnitudes
are significantly different, the mathematical treatment can be simplified using one of the following
approaches:

1. Rayleigh regime if r  . Describes the particle-light interactions using wave optics. The
trapped object can be viewed as an induced dipole that feels a Lorentz force due to the
gradient in the electric field.

2. Mie regime if r  . Optical forces can be computed from simple ray optics.

Due to the size of the objects involved in our case, as in biological studies, we are interested on
using the Mie regime, which offers a very good approximation via geometrical optics bringing an
easy approach and reliable results when computing optical forces [2].
The trapping force of the focused beam Ftrap can be expressed by terms of the efficiency of the trap
Q, the refractive index of the surrounding medium n1 , the power in the focus P and the velocity
of light, as shown in equation 2.

nP
Ftrap = Q (2)
c

As this trapping force cannot be directly measured, a known viscous force FStokes was applied on
the trapped particle to counteract the optical force exerted by the set of traps. The drag force is
originated with a piezoelectric stage that, receiving a signal along the transverse direction of the
beam, transfers an oscillating movement to the sample, which contains the particles to be trapped
suspended in liquid. For an spherical particle this viscous force is denoted by equation (3), which
shows its dependencies with the viscosity of the medium , the radius of the trapped particle r and
the constant velocity of the liquid v.

F~Stokes = 6rv (3)

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

3 Experimental realization
3.1 Experimental Setup
In figure 2 a sketch of the system (brought to two dimensions) is shown. As we can see, two light
sources of light are needed: On one hand, we have the infrared laser light with = 980 nm, which
is collimated and spatially filtered by means of a monomode fiber. After being expanded by a two
lens telescope system and being reflected by by dichroic and silver mirrors it finally enters into an
oil-immersed objective lens (Nikon 100x, 1.25 NA) that focuses the light to create the trap in the
plane of the sample. On the other hand, we also have a white LED light which illuminates the
sample, and a conderser lens after it.
The sample consisted in polystyrene microspheres with a radius of 4m in a liquid medium made
of two different concentrations of Glycerol, prepared in a small container composed by film and the
coverslip. The sample was placed on a piezoelectric stage (Thorlabs NanoMax) in order to transfer
an oscillating movement with a maximum amplitude of 20m, and controlled by a custom-made
Labview program. Video imaging was made with a CCD camera (Thorlabs DCU224C).

Figure 2: Sketch of the experimental setup.

3.2 Alignment of the setup


A good alignment of the setup described in figure 2 has to be achieved first. By means of an
adjustment target we centered the laser beam. Thereafter, we constructed the telescope with the
two aforementioned lenses, separating them a distance d = 10cm to have the laser collimated.
Additionally, we further enhanced the alignment by manipulating the mirrors, checking that the
spot size had roughly the same radius in each arm (after the telescope and before the microscope).
Finally, we verified that the alignment was indeed good by placing the target after the telescope
and seeing that the reduced spot appeared inside the pinhole of a second target in each arm.

3.3 Calibration of the system


Once the setup is aligned we are now able to characterize our laser and to start the experiment.
First, we want to explore the dependence between the current of the laser diode and the output
power. To do so, we place the sensor close tho the laser source (position 1st) in the sketch on

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

figure 2) and take a range of measures from 0 to 250 mA. In order to evaluate the losses of the laser
light source along the setup, we proceeded to calculate the output power in different positions, as
shown in figure 2. With this information we are able to detect the losses or transmission at every
part of the setup.

3.4 Measurement of the trapping forces


First, a sample with the microspheres suspended in 85% glycerol was prepared, by taking a drop of
glycerol and placing just a few particles in it. Then, the coverslip was placed on top and after it, the
oil for the oil-immersed objective lens. Thereafter, we placed it upside down onto the translation
stage, moving it to the focusing beam at the microscope. Once the particles were seen on the
computer screen, we looked for the floating ones, which can be hold by the trap (the ones laing
in the coverslip were already sticked to it so they could not been removed from there anymore).
Then, we trapped one of the floating microspheres by manipulating the screws of the microscope,
and using the provided Labview software we proceeded to control the piezoelectric stage and set a
velocity for the whole sample. By increasing this velocity we measured which was the maximum
one that could keep the particle hold in the trap, for different intensities. Finally, the same method
was repeated for particles suspended in 64% glycerol.

4 Results
4.1 Output power of the laser diode
We measure the output power at position 1st in figure 2 since it is the position where the laser first
comes out.

The original data is shown in table 1. According to this data we can plot two graph for increasing
current trend in figure 3 and decreasing current trend in figure 4, with two different tendencies
whose fitting lines are drawn in red and blue respectively.

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

Iinc (0, 1mA) P (0, 01mW ) Idec (0, 1mA) P (0, 1mW )
0,3 0,00 250,3 101,1
10,3 0,00 244,6 98,1
15,0 0,00 239,9 95,7
20,0 0,00 232,0 91,8
25,0 0,00 225,0 88,3
30,2 0,01 217,7 84,6
40,7 0,04 211,0 81,3
42,6 0,06 204,3 77,9
44,1 0,72 198,4 75,0
45,0 1,11 192,4 72,0
46,6 1,76 184,0 67,8
47,8 2,43 178,2 64,9
48,0 2,59 170,2 60,9
58,8 7,18 161,7 56,7
70,0 12,13 158,2 53,5
78,3 16,02 146,0 48,9
85,0 19,23 138,9 45,4
92,9 23,07 131,2 41,6
99,2 26,15 121,7 37,0
105,0 29,00 116,0 34,2
109,6 31,27 108,3 30,4
117,8 35,26 98,0 25,4
124,6 38,62 93,6 23,3
129,8 41,19 87,4 20,2
138,6 45,55 82,1 17,7
143,7 48,07 76,0 14,8
152,9 52,63 70,1 12,1
160,4 56, 3 0, 1 63,0 8,8
169,5 60, 8 0, 1 54,9 5,4
175,0 63, 5 0, 1 49,4 3,0
182,2 67, 1 0, 1 44,7 0, 95 0, 01
191,5 71, 7 0, 1 41,0 0, 04 0, 01
198,5 75, 2 0, 1 39,7 0, 03 0, 01
204,8 78, 3 0, 1 37,6 0, 02 0, 01
212,0 81, 9 0, 1 32,7 0, 01 0, 01
218,1 85 0, 1 26,6 0 0, 01
225,0 88, 4 0, 1 20,0 0 0, 01
229,2 90, 5 0, 1 15,0 0 0, 01
234,5 93, 2 0, 1 10,0 0 0, 01
239,8 95, 8 0, 1 5,0 0 0, 01
250,0 100, 9 0, 1 0,3 0 0, 01

Table 1: Measured values for the output laser power and the intensity, while increasing it (first row) and decreasing
it (third row). Note that in the measurements of power that the error changes for some values at the end due to the
change on the scale of the measuring device.

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

Figure 3: Plot of output power as a function of increasing current.

Figure 4: Plot of output power as a function of decreasing current.

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

4.2 Losses of optical system


As is described in experimental realization, we measure the transmission of four optical elements
in total, measuring the output power in the already mentioned positions in figure 2. We keep the
current at 240mA 0.1mA when measuring. The original data is shown in table 2.

Position P (0, 1mW )


1st 95,4
2nd 77,6
3rd 60,9
4th 54,7
5th 49,1
6th 53,3
7th 47,7
8th 35,2
9th 34,1
10th 33,5

Table 2: Values of the power output depending on the position of the sensor in the setup.

We can now calculate the transmission of each element and the opticaal system using equation 4,
where I0 is the incoming intensity and I is the outcoming intensity. The results of this calculation
are shown in table 3, where elements are named in reference to figure 2.

I
T = (4)
I0

Element T (%)
L1 78, 5 0, 03
L2 89, 8 0, 02
M 89, 5 0, 02
DM 96, 9 0, 01
Total system 35, 1 0, 07

Table 3: Values of the transmission of every element as denoted in figure 2.

4.3 Maximum trapping velocity


The original data taking in this section is presented in tables 5 and 4. According to the data we
plot the corresponding graph, shown in figure 5 and 6 respectively.

I(0, 1mA) v(0, 1m/s) I(0, 1mA) v(0, 1m/s)


250,0 10,9 250,0 41,5
220,2 6,0 220,0 31,5
190,9 7,7 190,0 29,7
160,0 5,3 160,0 23,0
135,0 4,0 135,0 16,0
100,0 1,5 100,0 10,5

Table 4: Maximum trapping velocity for 85% Table 5: Maximum trapping velocity for 64%
glycerol sample glycerol sample

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

Figure 5: Plot of maximum velocity as a function of current, with 85% glycerol sample.

Figure 6: Plot of maximum velocity as a function of current, with 64% glycerol sample.

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4.4 Effective laser power in the focus


We already know the transmission for the whole optical system is T = 35.10.07%, and Tobjective =50%.
Then, the effective laser power in the focus is Pf = I1 T 50%.
According to this formula, we can get the output power in the focus from the output power measured
in position 1st in figure 2. The measured and calculated values are shown in table ??.

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

I (0.1mA) Pf ocus (0.01mW )


0.3 0.0
10.3 0.0
15.0 0.0
20.0 0.0
25.0 0.0
30.2 0.0
40.7 0.0
42.6 0.0
44.1 0.7
45.0 1.1
46.6 1.8
47.8 2.4
48.0 2.6
58.8 7.2
70.0 12.1
78.3 16.0
85.0 19.2
92.9 23.1
99.2 26.2
105.0 29.0
109.6 31.3
117.8 35.3
124.6 38.6
129.8 41.2
138.6 45.6
143.7 48.1
152.9 52.6
160.4 56.3
169.5 60.8
175.0 63.5
182.2 67.1
191.5 71.7
198.5 75.2
204.8 78.3
212.0 81.9
218.1 85.0
225.0 88.4
229.2 90.5
234.5 93.2
239.8 95.8
250.0 100.9

Table 6: Focus output power as a function of current

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

Figure 7: Plot of focus output power as a function of current

4.5 Trapping force


According to formula (3), we can calculate trapping force using the value of maximum trapping
velocity we measure. The corresponding results are shown in tables 7 and 8, and the plots are
shown in figures 8 and 9.

v(0.1m/s) Ft (0.1 1012 N ) v(0.1m/s) Ft (0.1 1012 N )


10.9 132.3 41.5 68.8
9.0 109.3 31.5 52.3
7.7 93.5 29.7 49.3
5.3 64.3 23.0 38.2
4.0 48.6 16.0 26.5
1.5 18.2 10.5 17.4

Table 7: Trapping force and maximum Table 8: Trapping force and maximum
trapping velocity, 85%sample trapping velocity, 64%sample

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Figure 8: Plot of trapping force as a function of maximum trapping velocity, 85% glycerol sample

Figure 9: Plot of trapping force as a function of maximum trapping velocity, 64% glycerol sample

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4.6 Relation of maximum trapping velocity, trapping force and focus laser
power
Since we already know the value of trapping force and effective laser power, we can plot the
maximum trapping velocity and trapping force over effective laser power, as shown in tables 9, and
10.

Pf ocus (mW ) v(0.1m/s) Ft (0.1 1012 N )


17.7 10.9 132.3
15.1 9.0 109.3
12.6 7.7 93.5
9.9 5.3 64.3
7.2 4.0 48.6
4.6 1.5 18.2

Table 9: Focus power, maximum trapping velocity and trapping force, 85%sample

Pf ocus (mW ) v(0.1m/s) Ft (0.1 1012 N )


17.7 41.5 68.8
15.1 31.5 52.3
12.6 29.7 49.3
9.9 23.0 38.2
7.2 16.0 26.5
4.6 10.5 17.4

Table 10: Focus power, maximum trapping velocity and trapping force, 64%sample

Figure 10: Plot of trapping force and maximum trapping force as a function of focus power, 85% glycerol sample

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Figure 11: Plot of trapping force and maximum trapping force as a function of focus power, 64% glycerol sample

4.7 Trapping efficiency Q


Since we already know value of maximum trapping velocity, trapping force and effective laser power,
we can calculate trapping efficiency Q according to formula 2. The result is shown in tables 11 and
12.

I (0.1mA) Pf ocus (mW ) v(0.1m/s) Ft (0.1 1012 N ) Q(0.01)


250.0 17.7 10.9 132.3 0.15
220.2 15.1 9.0 109.3 0.15
190.9 12.6 7.7 93.5 0.15
160.0 9.9 5.3 64.3 0.13
135.0 7.2 4.0 48.6 0.14
100.0 4.6 1.5 18.2 0.08

Table 11: Trapping efficiency Q, 85% glycerol sample

I (0.1mA) Pf ocus (mW ) v(0.1m/s) Ft (0.1 1012 N ) Q(0.01)


250.0 17.7 41.5 68.8 0.82
220.0 15.1 31.5 52.3 0.73
190.0 12.6 29.7 49.3 0.83
160.0 9.9 23.0 38.2 0.82
130.0 7.2 16.0 26.5 0.78
100.0 4.6 10.5 17.4 0.80

Table 12: Trapping efficiency Q, 64% glycerol sample

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

As is shown, for 85% glycerol sample, the value of Q when I = 250mA and I = 100mA is so
different from others that we can conclude that these two numbers are not correct enough to be
included in the final result. So we only use other four numbers to calculate and eventually we have
Q = 0.14 0.01.

As for 64% glycerol sample, we leave out the value of Q when I = 250mA out of the same reason.
Then we get the result Q = 0.79 0.03.

5 Discussion
5.1 Output power of the laser diode
As we can see in the figure 3 and 4, the relation between output and current can be described in two
parts. First part is when the current is so low that we cannot detect the output. The fitting line is
just a horizontal line shown in red in figure 3 and 4. Second part starts from where we first get the
output to the maximum current value. The second part shows a linear positive correlation between
output power and current, like the blue fitting line in figure 3 and 4. As for the two measurement
from minimum to maximum and from maximum to minimum, the results are nearly the same that
at first no output, and once there is output, it shows a linear relation.

5.2 Losses of optical system


As we can see from the result, the transmission of the optical objectives increases with increase of
the distance between optical objective and the light source. When the objective is closer to the
light source, the output power is higher. Usually when other conditions are the same, the higher
intensity, the higher loss. This effect might be due to the interaction between photons and other
particles, such as air molecules and dust. When we have a higher output, the interaction is more
intense, thus causing a higher loss.

5.3 Maximum trapping velocity


The condition of the particle we measure will change over time, as for example, it may gradually
get stuck to the glass so even at the same current the maximum trapping velocity will increase),
so we cannot keep all other conditions except the current the same since we cannot measure the
maximum trapping velocity at different current the same time. And the fact is that we did measure
the velocity at I = 250mA again after we measured velocities at all different current from 250mA
to 100mA, but the value is quite different from the former measured data. We just keep the former
data and attribute it to the time difference.

5.4 Effective laser power in the focus


We cannot measure laser power in the focus directly, so we just calculate it by multiplying the
incident power and the transmission coefficient. But during the measurement of the transmission(or
losses) of the optical system, there is a huge error. As for the distance between objective lens and
the focus, we just calculate it with the transmission coefficient 50%, which will also bring in extra
error.

5.5 Relation of maximum trapping velocity, trapping force and focus laser
power
As we can see in formula (2), we can get trapping force by multiplying focus power with n, Q and
1/c, which are all constants. So the relation between trapping force and focus power is linear. As

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Optical Tweezers G-17: Yufei Peng, Neus Allande Calvet

we can see it in the plot, it coincides well. Similarly to the relation between maximum trapping
velocity and focus power, 6r is also constant. So it is also linearly related. Also coincides well
with the plot.

5.6 Trapping efficiency Q


For 85% glycerol sample, we leave out the Q at I = 250mA and I = 100mA since it is far too small
than others. There are many reasons that may be to blame for this result. We guess the most likely
reason for this is the change of condition. Firstly, timing is an important factor because the particle
will surely stuck to the glass after some time. During the measurement, the particle is gradually
stuck to the glass, which brings in the condition change. The other factor is the environment, or
the background of the particle. Even if we are measuring the velocity at empty place(means there
are not many particles around), as we test the velocity there is sure movement of the particle.
Sometimes the particle moves near other particles we even need to lead the particle to another
more empty place in case they get stuck together to measure. These all operations surely make
change to the environment, and thus bring in huge error.
In addition, we did measure the velocity at I = 250mA again after we measure all velocities from
I = 250mA to I = 100mA, and we found the result was so different from the precious. This can
be used to support my argument above of condition changes as time goes by.

5.7 Errors
There are many possible sources that can bring in error in this experiment, here are the result of
our discussion:

1. Error of the experiment devices, such as the ammeter and power meter.

2. The power meter cannot be fixed to the optical element to detect, and slightly action can
result in obvious difference. This measurement brings in huge error.

3. We cannot detect the focus output power directly, so we just measure the incident output
power then times transmission of the system, finally times the transmission of the objective
lens. As is said above, the measurement of transmission is not accurate, plus the fact that we
use the output power right after the objective lens as focus power. So the focus laser power
we get in this way is far from accurate, which we think is one of the biggest error in this
experiment.

4. The condition change during the measurement of maximum trapping velocity. As is already
described in detail above, we will not go into details here.

5. The instability of devices. It happens that at different time, the output laser is different while
the current is the same. We using the power detected before as the power when detecting
maximum trapping velocity, this can bring in error.

5.8 Main findings


From this experiment, we know that focused laser can be used to trap and move particles to
everywhere we want. And we find out that the output power of laser goes linear with the current;
the maximum trapping velocity and the resulting trapping force both go linearly with the focus
power, which coincides with the theory.

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6 Conclusions
Optical tweezers have been studied. We have seen how a highly-focused laser beam can provide us
with an attractive force capable of trapping dielectric particles. After the successful calibration of
the laser, we were able to trap particle with it. Once the particle was trapped, we have obtained
the trapping forces for different particles in two different solutions. The linear dependence of the
force on the power has been successfully verified, hence the results show a strong linear behaviour.
Additionally, we have obtained the trapping efficiency of each solution. To conclude, we would
like to mention that we could have exploited our system to further study the behavior of such
particles, for instance by measuring the trap stiffness , where important concepts of physics such
as the equipartition theorem could have been experimentally studied.

References
[1] A. Ashkin, J.M.Dziedzic Optical trapping and manipulation of viruses and bacteria, Science
235, 1517-1520 (1987).
,
[2] I. Verdeny, A. FarrA c J. Mas, C. Lopez-Quesada, E. MartAn, M. Montes-Usategui Optical
trapping: A review of essential concepts, Optica Pura y Aplicada 44 (3) 527-551 (2011).

[3] Robert Kammel, Optical Tweezers Material for ASP Experimental Optics Course, February
2016.

[4] J.W. Shaevitz, A Practical Guide to Optical Trapping, Technical report, Princeton University
(2006).

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