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Modal liquid crystal devices in optical tweezing: 3D control and oscillating potential wells

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    Rights statement: This paper was published in Optics Express and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.14.004525] Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4525-4537
Number of pages13
JournalOptics Express
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


We investigate the use of liquid crystal (LC) adaptive optics elements to provide full 3 dimensional particle control in an optical tweezer. These devices are suitable for single controllable traps, and so are less versatile than many of the competing technologies which can be used to control multiple particles. However, they have the advantages of simplicity and light efficiency. Furthermore, compared to binary holographic optical traps they have increased positional accuracy. The transmissive LC devices could be retro-fitted to an existing microscope system. An adaptive modal LC lens is used to vary the z-focal position over a range of up to 100 μm and an adaptive LC beam-steering device is used to deflect the beam (and trapped particle) in the x-y plane within an available radius of 10 μm. Furthermore, by modifying the polarisation of the incident light, these LC components also offer the opportunity for the creation of dual optical traps of controllable depth and separation.

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