Combined acoustic and optical trapping

G. Thalhammer, R. Steiger, M. Meinschad, M. Hill, S. Bernet, M. Ritsch-Marte
Division for Biomedical Physics, Innsbruck Medical University, Mullerstra?e 44, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Biomedical Optics Express, October 1; 2(10): 2859-2870, 2011


   title={Combined acoustic and optical trapping},

   author={Thalhammer, G. and Steiger, R. and Meinschad, M. and Hill, M. and Bernet, S. and Ritsch-Marte, M.},

   journal={Biomedical Optics Express},





   publisher={Optical Society of America}


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Combining several methods for contact free micro-manipulation of small particles such as cells or micro-organisms provides the advantages of each method in a single setup. Optical tweezers, which employ focused laser beams, offer very precise and selective handling of single particles. On the other hand, acoustic trapping with wavelengths of about 1 mm allows the simultaneous trapping of many, comparatively large particles. With conventional approaches it is difficult to fully employ the strengths of each method due to the different experimental requirements. Here we present the combined optical and acoustic trapping of motile micro-organisms in a microfluidic environment, utilizing optical macro-tweezers, which offer a large field of view and working distance of several millimeters and therefore match the typical range of acoustic trapping. We characterize the acoustic trapping forces with the help of optically trapped particles and present several applications of the combined optical and acoustic trapping, such as manipulation of large (75 microns) particles and active particle sorting.
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