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Proceedings Paper

An interactive optical tweezers simulation for science education
Author(s): Thomas T. Perkins; Christopher V. Malley; Michael A. Dubson; Katherine K. Perkins
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Paper Abstract

We developed a freely available interactive simulation of optical traps and their biological applications (phet.colorado.edu). The target audience is undergraduate majors as well as more advanced researchers. The simulation has three panels: optical traps, manipulating DNA, and measuring molecular motors. Each panel has options that allow students to interactively explore key physical ideas. For instance, viscosity can be turned off to see the critical aspect of dissipation, or time can be slowed down to see the oscillating electric field and the induced charge separation. An overview of the simulation and specific exercises suitable for an undergraduate class are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 2010
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7762, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VII, 776215 (28 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.862030
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas T. Perkins, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (United States)
Christopher V. Malley, PixelZoom, Inc. (United States)
Michael A. Dubson, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (United States)
Katherine K. Perkins, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7762:
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VII
Kishan Dholakia; Gabriel C. Spalding, Editor(s)

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