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Wave front engineering for microscopy of living cells

Optical Society of America
Publication Date
  • F360 Optical Physics
  • F310 Applied Physics
  • F361 Laser Physics
  • Mathematics


A new method to perform simultaneously three dimensional optical sectioning and optical manipulation is presented. The system combines a multi trap optical tweezers with a video microscope to enable axial scanning of living cells while maintaining the trapping configuration at a fixed position. This is achieved compensating the axial movement of the objective by shaping the wave front of the trapping beam with properly diffractive optical elements displayed on a computer controlled spatial light modulator. Our method has been validated in three different experimental configurations. In the first, we decouple the position of a trapping plane from the axial movements of the objective and perform optical sectioning of a circle of beads kept on a fixed plane. In a second experiment, we extend the method to living cell microscopy by showing that mechanical constraints can be applied on the dorsal surface of a cell whilst performing its fluorescence optical sectioning. In the third experiment, we trapped beads in a three dimensional geometry and perform, always through the same objective, an axial scan of the volume delimited by the beads.

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