Optical trapping for analytical biotechnology

P. C. Ashok, and K. Dholakia

Current Opinion in Biotechnology 23(1), 16-21 (2012)

doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2011.11.011

We describe the exciting advances of using optical trapping in the field of analytical biotechnology. This technique has opened up opportunities to manipulate biological particles at the single cell or even at subcellular levels which has allowed an insight into the physical and chemical mechanisms of many biological processes. The ability of this technique to manipulate microparticles and measure pico-Newton forces has found several applications such as understanding the dynamics of biological macromolecules, cell–cell interactions and the micro-rheology of both cells and fluids. Furthermore we may probe and analyse the biological world when combining trapping with analytical techniques such as Raman spectroscopy and imaging.