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David Grier's Home Page

Department of Physics and Center for Soft Matter Research
New York University

Holographic Optical Trapping

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Holographic
Optical Tweezers

HOTs

Holographic
Optical Tweezers with Computed Holograms

CGH

Dynamic
Holographic Optical Tweezers

DHOTs

Quasicrystals

Quasicrystals

Nanowires

Nanowires

Optical Fractionation

Kinetic
Lock-in

Optical Peristalsis

Optical
Peristalsis

Thermal
Ratchets

Thermal
Ratchets

2-State
Ratchet

Two-state
Ratchet

Optical
Vortices

Optical
Vortices

Modulated Optical Vortices

Modulated
Vortices

Optical
Vortex Arrays

Vortex
Arrays

Vortex Pumps

Vortex
Pumps

Concentric Rings

Concentric
Vortices

Ring Traps

Ring Traps

Holographic Microscopy

Holographic
Microscopy

Tractor Beams

Tractor
Beams

Knotted Traps

Knotted
Traps


Optical Tweezer

Optical Tweezers

An optical tweezer uses the forces exerted by a strongly focused beam of light to trap, manipulate, and transform small volumes of matter. Originally introduced by Ashkin, Dziedzic, Bjorkholm and Chu in 1986, optical tweezers have become indispensible tools for research in physics, chemistry, and biology. More recently, optical tweezers have been generalized into a family of optical manipulation tools. This page describes recent advances in optical trapping by David Grier's group at New York University.
HOT logo

Dynamic Holographic Optical Tweezers

HOT optical train

If one tightly focused beam of light creates one optical tweezer, then N separate beams can create N simultaneous traps. Holographic Optical Tweezers (HOTs) use computer-generated holograms, also known as diffractive optical elements (DOEs) or kinoforms, to split a single laser beam into any desired fan-out of beams, each of which is relayed to a strongly converging objective lens and focused into a distinct optical trap. This approach can project hundreds of simultaneous optical traps in arbitrary three-dimensional configurations. Each trap can be imbued with unique characteristics, such as the ability to exert torques as well as forces, and the entire trapping pattern can be updated in real time to dynamically reconfigure and transform mesoscopic matter.

The unprecedented access that holographic optical tweezers provide to structures and processes at length scales ranging from tens of nanometers to hundreds of micrometers creates new avenues for fundamental research in physics, chemistry, biology, and several branches of engineering. Holographic optical tweezers also have immediate practical applications in areas as diverse as biomedical testing and diagnostics, photonics manufacturing, biological and chemical sensor fabrication, and assembly of hierarchically structured functional nanocomposite materials.

Holographic optical tweezers were invented by Eric Dufresne and David Grier at The University of Chicago in 1997. The original reference to the technique is

E. R. Dufresne and D. G. Grier, "Optical tweezer arrays and optical substrates created with diffractive optical elements," Rev. Sci. Instr. 69, 1974-1977 (1998).

The patent on holographic optical tweezers was exclusively licensed to Arryx, Inc. in 2000.

R&D 100 logo Arryx's commercial implementation of dynamic holographic optical tweezers, the BioRyx 200 ™ system, was honored with an R&D 100 Award for Technical Innovation in 2002.

Optical Trapping Links


Contact Information

David G. Grier             Department of Physics
                           Center for Soft Matter Research
(212) 998-3713 (voice)     New York University
(212) 995-4016 (FAX)       4 Washington Place
david.grier@nyu.edu        New York, NY 10003

Last Modified: Sat Oct 25 11:03:59 EDT 2014