By the same authors

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Rapid rotation of micron and submicron dielectric particles measured using optical tweezers

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Modern Optics
DatePublished - 10 Jul 2003
Issue number10
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)1539-1554
Original languageEnglish


We demonstrate the use of a laser trap ('optical tweezers') and back-focal-plane position detector to measure rapid rotation in aqueous solution of single particles with sizes in the vicinity of 1 μm. Two types of rotation were measured: electrorotation of polystyrene microspheres and rotation of the flagellar motor of the bacterium Vibrio alginolyticus. In both cases, speeds in excess of 1000Hz (rev s) were measured. Polystyrene beads of diameter about 1 μm labelled with smaller beads were held at the centre of a microelectrode array by the optical tweezers. Electrorotation of the labelled beads was induced by applying a rotating electric field to the solution using microelectrodes. Electrorotation spectra were obtained by varying the frequency of the applied field and analysed to obtain the surface conductance of the beads. Single cells of V. alginolyticus were trapped and rotation of the polar sodium-driven flagellar motor was measured. Cells rotated more rapidly in media containing higher concentrations of Na, and photodamage caused by the trap was considerably less when the suspending medium did not contain oxygen. The technique allows single-speed measurements to be made in less than a second and separate particles can be measured at a rate of several per minute.

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