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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 20, Iss. 28 — Dec. 31, 2012
  • pp: 29679–29693

An optically actuated surface scanning probe

D. B. Phillips, G. M. Gibson, R. Bowman, M. J. Padgett, S. Hanna, D. M. Carberry, M. J. Miles, and S. H. Simpson  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 28, pp. 29679-29693 (2012)

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We demonstrate the use of an extended, optically trapped probe that is capable of imaging surface topography with nanometre precision, whilst applying ultra-low, femto-Newton sized forces. This degree of precision and sensitivity is acquired through three distinct strategies. First, the probe itself is shaped in such a way as to soften the trap along the sensing axis and stiffen it in transverse directions. Next, these characteristics are enhanced by selectively position clamping independent motions of the probe. Finally, force clamping is used to refine the surface contact response. Detailed analyses are presented for each of these mechanisms. To test our sensor, we scan it laterally over a calibration sample consisting of a series of graduated steps, and demonstrate a height resolution of ∼ 11 nm. Using equipartition theory, we estimate that an average force of only ∼ 140 fN is exerted on the sample during the scan, making this technique ideal for the investigation of delicate biological samples.

© 2012 OSA

OCIS Codes
(140.7010) Lasers and laser optics : Laser trapping
(170.4520) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical confinement and manipulation

ToC Category:
Optical Trapping and Manipulation

Original Manuscript: November 7, 2012
Revised Manuscript: December 13, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: December 13, 2012
Published: December 20, 2012

Virtual Issues
Vol. 8, Iss. 1 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

D. B. Phillips, G. M. Gibson, R. Bowman, M. J. Padgett, S. Hanna, D. M. Carberry, M. J. Miles, and S. H. Simpson, "An optically actuated surface scanning probe," Opt. Express 20, 29679-29693 (2012)

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