The optical trap is the latest innovation from researchers at the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who are developing new sensor technology for biomedical analysis and other applications.
"Ultimately, it could have applications for rapid detection of bacteria and viruses in hospitals, for cell sorting in research labs, and for process monitoring in chemical engineering," said Holger Schmidt, professor of electrical engineering and director of the W. M. Keck Center for Nanoscale Optofluidics at UCSC.
The new technique offers the potential to create a smaller, cheaper version of the sophisticated equipment used to perform fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), Schmidt said.
"The capabilities of our optofluidic platform are continuing to grow. We have gone from the detection of single molecules and single viruses to now being able to control the movement of particles," he said.
Schmidt's group has received a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore particle trapping and sorting and other applications of the optofluidics platform. An article describing the optical trap for on-chip particle analysis has been published online by the journal Lab on a Chip. First author Sergei Kuhn was a postdoctoral researcher in Schmidt's lab and is now at the Max-Born Institute in Berlin. Coauthors include David Deamer and Philip Measor at UCSC and E. J. Lunt, B. S. Phillips, and A. R. Hawkins of Brigham Young University, where the optofluidic chips are fabricated.
Optical traps and "optical tweezers" use the momentum carried by the photons in a beam of light to exert forces on microscopic objects, enabling researchers to manipulate objects ranging from biological molecules to living cells. Schmidt's group developed a new way to perform optical trapping on a chip-based platform.
The technique relies on an earlier innovation from Schmidt's lab: a hollow-core optical waveguide that can direct a beam of light through a liquid-filled channel on a chip. To trap particles, the researchers used two laser beams at opposite ends of a channel. A particle gets trapped at the point where the forces exerted by the two beams are equal, and the particle can be moved by changing the relative power of the two laser beams.
"We can also use this like an optical leaf blower to push all the particles in a sample to the same spot and increase the concentration," Schmidt said. "The goal is to control the position and movement of particles through channels on a chip so they can be studied using fluorescence analysis and other optical methods."
The Jack Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC prepares technologists--and sponsors technology--for our changing world. Founded in 1997, Baskin Engineering trains students in six future-focused areas of engineering: biotechnology/information technology/ nanotechnology; information and communication infrastructure; mathematical and statistical modeling; software and services engineering; system design; and bioengineering. Baskin Engineering faculty conduct industry-leading research that is improving the way the world does business, treats the environment, and nurtures humanity.
Tim Stephens | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy