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Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Vol. 36, Iss. 7 — Apr. 1, 2011
  • pp: 1260–1262

Measuring the complete force field of an optical trap

Marcus Jahnel, Martin Behrndt, Anita Jannasch, Erik Schäffer, and Stephan W. Grill  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 36, Issue 7, pp. 1260-1262 (2011)

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The use of optical traps to measure or apply forces on the molecular level requires a precise knowledge of the trapping force field. Close to the trap center, this field is typically approximated as linear in the displacement of the trapped microsphere. However, applications demanding high forces at low laser intensities can probe the light-microsphere interaction beyond the linear regime. Here, we measured the full nonlinear force and displacement response of an optical trap in two dimensions using a dual-beam optical trap setup with back-focal-plane photodetection. We observed a substantial stiffening of the trap beyond the linear regime that depends on microsphere size, in agreement with Mie theory calculations. Surprisingly, we found that the linear detection range for forces exceeds the one for displacement by far. Our approach allows for a complete calibration of an optical trap.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.7010) Lasers and laser optics : Laser trapping
(170.4520) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical confinement and manipulation
(230.0230) Optical devices : Optical devices
(290.4020) Scattering : Mie theory
(290.5820) Scattering : Scattering measurements
(350.4855) Other areas of optics : Optical tweezers or optical manipulation

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

Original Manuscript: December 14, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: February 7, 2011
Published: March 30, 2011

Virtual Issues
Vol. 6, Iss. 5 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Marcus Jahnel, Martin Behrndt, Anita Jannasch, Erik Schäffer, and Stephan W. Grill, "Measuring the complete force field of an optical trap," Opt. Lett. 36, 1260-1262 (2011)

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