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Proceedings Paper

Towards crystallization using optical tweezers
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Paper Abstract

Recently we have shown that protein crystals could be grown while they were three-dimensionally trapped by optical tweezers. This permitted studies of modifications of single crystals while gradually changing the conditions in the growing solution. Furthermore it allowed the crystals to grow far away from container walls favoring high quality crystal growth. Many protein crystals themselves consist of fairly large molecules, with sizes up to tens of nanometers. Here we present experiments studying the effect of optical trapping potentials on large molecules, with the aim to explore ways to further enhance crystal growth. For this purpose we extended our tweezers setup with a specially developed detection system allowing us to monitor changes in the molecule concentration of a solution. Using polyethylene oxide (PEO) molecule solutions we were able to demonstrate that the trapping potential of an optical trap is sufficient to collect large single molecules. Our results show that the optical trap induces an increase in the molecule concentration in the focal region. As expected only molecules above a certain molecular weight could be manipulated, and the concentration in the focal region depended on the power of the trapping laser. The ability to locally increase the concentration of molecules may be useful in assisting nucleation of crystals.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 January 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6038, Photonics: Design, Technology, and Packaging II, 60380B (16 January 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.651755
Show Author Affiliations
Wolfgang Singer, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)
Ursula J. Gibson, Dartmouth College (United States)
Timo A. Nieminen, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)
Norman R. Heckenberg, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)
Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6038:
Photonics: Design, Technology, and Packaging II
Derek Abbott; Yuri S. Kivshar; Halina H. Rubinsztein-Dunlop; Shanhui Fan, Editor(s)

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