Challenging the Limits of Photonics: Structured Light

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  • Check out our new article, Enhanced Optical Manipulation of Cells Using Antireflection Coated Microparticles, at ACP Photonics here. Don't have subsriber access? Use this link to access the article for free (limited to 50 e-prints during the first 12-months of publication).

  • Read our new article in Optica on using photonic cyrstals to slow light down and increase the force light exerts on microparticles here. Check out the articles summary on the University of St Andrews news page here.

  • Our recently published article in PLoS ONE has been chosen as the featured article of the week by OCT news (here). We used OCT to analyse the shells and organ volumes of post mortem Krill samples to determine the effects of changing ocean conditions. Our article can be found by clicking here.  


List of research groups around the globe involved in research related to optical trapping 

worldAfrica Europe Australia Europe Asia UK USA&Canada



United Kingdom  
Colin Bain's Group
(Univ. of Durham)
Optical Binding
Paul Bartlett's Group
(University of Bristol)
Soft condensed matter - forces on colloids etc
Richard Berry's Group
(Univ. of Oxford)
Biophysics of molecular motors
(University of Edinburgh)
Optical tweezers and holographic techniques
Kishan Dholakia's Group
(University of St. Andrews)
Optical manipulation techniques, Properties of novel light fields, colloidal and nanoparticle dynamics in optical light fields. Biophotonics.
Mark Dickinson's Group
(Univ. of Manchester)
Surface profiling and force measurements
Jochen Guck's Group
(University of Cambridge)
Photonics with biological and medical relevance
David McGloin's Group
(University of Dundee)
Aerosols, holographic optical tweezers, colloids, biophotonics, , non-optical techniques, novel light beams
Justin Molloy's Group
Nat. Inst. for Medical Research
Molecular Motors
Miles Padgett's Group
(University of Glasgow)
Optical spanners and dynamic holographic techniques
Jonathan Reid's Group
(University of Bristol)
Particle dynamics (aerosols)
John Sanderson's Group
(Univ. of Durham)
Liposomal membranes and Raman tweezing - collaboration with CCLRC
John Sleep's Group
(King's College London)
Molecular motors
Richard Snook's Group
(University of Manchester)
Studies of single molecules
Z. Ulanowski's Group
(Univ. of Hertfordshire)
Light scattering studies
Claudia Veigel's Group
Nat. Inst. for Medical Research
Molecular Motors
Rest of Europe 
Dario Anselmetti´s Group
(Bielefeld University, Germany)
DNA binding, single molecule translocation through nanopores, single cell analysis in microfluidic environments
Ove Axner's Group
(Umeå University)
Studies of cell signalling processes (Tweezers and Scalpel)
Clemens Bechinger's Group
(University of Stuttgart)
Colloid physics
A. van Blaaderen, A. Imhof and M. Dijkstra's Group
(Utrecht University)
Colloid physics - patterning of surfaces using optical tweezers
Kirstine Berg-Sørensen's Group
(NBI, Copenhagen)
Biophysical applications of tweezing
Optical Trapping Lab
Grup de Biofotònica (BiOPT)
University of Barcelona, Spain
Holographic optical tweezers for the study of biological processes in vivo
Dan Cojoc's Group
(OM Lab at TASC-INFM, Trieste, Italy)
Optical Manipulation
Rumiana Dimova's Group
(MPI-KG, Golm)
Membrane and Vesicles science
Nynke Dekker's Group
(Delft University of Technology)
Optical tweezers for DNA- & RNA-protein interactions, nanopores
Jörg Enderlein's Group
(Forschungszentum Jülich)
Optical tweezers for probing surface topography
Jesper Gluckstad's Group
(Risø National Laboratory)
Developing the Generalized Phase Contrast Method to create user-interactive multi-beam optical micromanipulation.
Jan Greve's group
(University of Twente)
Single biomolecular interactions using optical tweezers
Dag Hanstorp's Group
(Chalmers University, Gothenberg)
Biophysical applications and manipulation of particles in small cavities
Martin Hegner's group
(Trinity College Dublin)
Single molecule manipulation and biosensing
Josef Kas' Group
(Univ. of Leipzig)
Polymers and Membranes in cells
Georg Marat's Group
(Univ. Konstanz)
Colloids and Biophysics
Jens Michaelis' Group
(Ludwigs-Maximilians-Univ. Munich)
Molecular mechanisms of proteins
Manuel Nieto Vesperinas's Group
(Materials Science Inst. of Madrid)
Photonic Force Microscopy, near field optics (Theory)
Pal Ormos' Group
(University of Szeged, Hungary)
Driving micromachines with light
Francesco Pavone's Group
(LENS, Florence)
Biophysics applications with optical and magnetic tweezers
Dmitri Petrov's Group
(ICFO, Barcelona)
Biochemical processes on trapped cells, Raman Tweezing
Herve Rigneault's Group
(Institut Fresnel, Marseille)
HOTs and cell membrane dynamics
M. Ritsch-Marte's Group
(Innsbruck University)
Optical fibre traps and stretchers - applications in medical physics
Alexander Rohrbach's Group
(Univ. of Freiburg)
Optical trapping of sub-lambda particles using Photonic Force Microscopy
Manfred Schliwa's Group
(University of Munich)
Cell biophysics incl. molecular motors
Christof Schmidt's Group
(Virje University)
Physics of complex systems
Ernst Stelzer's Group
Optical forces and the Photonic Force Microscope
University of Barcelona Group Holographic tweezers
Gijs Wuite's group
(Vrije University, Amsterdam)
DNA-Protein Interactions
Pavel Zemanek's Group
(Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)
Micromanipulation and standing wave traps
Roberto Di Leonardo's Group
(Università di Roma "La Sapienza")
Holographic Optical Trapping, Impulsive Stimulated Scattering
Aging and flow in soft materials
Antonio Sasso's Group
(University of Naples "Federico II")
Laser Spectroscopy and Optical Manipulation
Heimo Saarikko's Group
(University of Helsinki)
Single Molecule Biophysics
René Paul Salathé's Group
(Ecole Polytechnique Federale De lausanne)
Optical trapping solutions for Lab-on-a-Chip applications.

Holger Kress Group 

Universität Bayreuth

Cellular biophysics
US & Canada 
Suzanne Amador Kane's Group
(Haverford College)
Studies of biopolymers and cell analysis
Bahman Anvari's Group
(Rice University)
Bio-studies, including mechanical properties of cochlear outer hair cells
Sangeeta Bhatia's Group
(Univ. of California at San Diego)
BioMEMS and tissue engineering
Michael W. Berns' Group
(Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic)
Mechanisms of light interaction with biological systems and the use of light to study fundamental problems in cell biology.
Steven Block's Group
(Stanford University)
Biophysical applications
Keith Bonin's Group
(Wake Forest University)
Nanomotors and biomolecular motors
William Brownell's Group
(Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine)
Cochlear biophysics
Carlos Bustamante's Group
(Univ. of Berkeley)
DNA-binding molecular motors
Daniel Chiu's Group
(University of Washington)
Nano and micro systems for bioanalysis (Updated 09/03/07)
Mark Cronin-Golomb's Group
(Tufts Univ.)
Fluid dynamics, local material properties, biophysics
Bogdan Dragnea's Group
(Indiana University)
Near-field optical trapping
Eric Dufresne's Group
(Yale University)
3D trapping and soft condensed matter research
Thomas Fischer's Group (archived)
(Florida State University)
Colloidal and interface science
Nancy Forde's Group
(Simon Fraser University)
Molecular Biophysics
Eric Furst's group
(Univ. of Delaware)
Colloid science - microrheology
Alice Gast's Group
The behavior of magnetorheological fluids
Robert Gauthier
(Carleton University, Ottawa)
Optical tweezing and studies of light induced forces in optical manipulation
David Grier's Group
(New York University)
The Grier group uses optical tweezers to study colloidal interactions, making use of dynamic holographic techniques.
Steven Gross' Group
(Univ. of California at Irvine)
Molecular motors
Kristian Helmerson's Group
Biochemical and biotechnology applications
Alan J. Hunt's Group
(University of Michigan)
Biological applications, in particular the biomechanical processes behind mitosis.
Scot C. Kuo's Group
(Johns Hopkins University)
Force measurement for cell mobility studies
Wolfgang Ketterle's Group
Optical Tweezers to move BEC.
J.A. Kong's Group
Optical Binding
Yong-qing Li's Group
(East Carolina University)
Raman Tweezers - combining optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy
Jan Liphardt's Group
Force measurement of molecular systems, nanowires
Wolfgang Losert's Group
(University of Maryland)
Biophysics, mechanical properties of cells
David Marr's Group
(Colarado School of Mines)
Optical tweezers for colloidal control, including control of microfluidic devices
Thomas Mason's Group
Jens-Christian Meiners' Group
Univ. of Michigan
Biophysics with single DNA molecules
Lucas Novotny's Group
(Institute of Optics, Rochester)
Sorting of nanoparticles.
H. Daniel Ou-Yong's Group
(Lehigh Univ.)
Hydrodynamics, microfluidics
Mihri Ozkan's Group
(Univ. of California, Riverside)
Biophotonics: Manipulation of cells with VCSEL arrays
Tom Perkin's Group
Single Molecule Biophysics
Tom Perkin's Optical Trapping Simulations (PhET, Univ. of Colorado) An interactive way to understand the basics of optical trapping
Mara Prentiss' Group
(Harvard University)
Optical and magnetic tweezers for biological applications
Stephen Quake's Group
Single molecule polymer dynamics using optical tweezers
Raj Rajagopalan's Group
(Univ. of Florida)
Single particle/molecule force spectroscopy and microrheology
Doug Smith's Group
Single Molecule Biophysics
Gabe Spalding's Group
(Illinois-Wesleyen University)
Holographic optical tweezers
James Spudich's Group
(Stanford University)
Molecular Motors
Ron Vale's Lab
Molecular Motors
Koen Visscher
(Univ. of Arizona)
Molecular Motors
David Walt's Group
(Tufts University)
Large area optical tweezers
Michelle Wang's Group
(Cornell University)
Molecular motors
Paul Weiss' Group
(Penn. State University)
Molecular-Scale Control & Measurement of Composition & Properties in Membranes
John G. White's Group - LOCI
(Univ. of Wisconsin)
Instrumentation for imaging and manipulating living specimens
Mark William's Group
(Northeastern University)
Stretching single molecules
Ming Wu's Group
Manipulation via optoelectrowetting
John Yukich's Group
Davidson College
Cell motility

John C. Crocker
Group Univ. of Pennsylvania

Single and Few Molecule Physics with Extended Optical Tweezers, Cell Microrheology

Rolf Hubmayr
Mayo clinic

Membrane and cytoskeletal biomechanics

Joshua W. Shaevitz
Princeton University

Mechanical perturbation of cells and molecules with visualization of key protein and macromolecular structures
Jennifer Curtis
Georgia Tech
Probe the coupling of the mechanical and chemical circuitry of the cell.
Denis Evans' Group
(Australian National University)
Tweezers and thermodynamics
Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop's Group
(University of Queensland)
Optical rotation and alignment, theoretical aspects of optical tweezing
Min Gu's Group
(Univ. of Swinburne)
Optical tweezers for bio- and nano-photonic applications
Arthur Chiou's Group
(National Yang-Ming Uni, Taiwan)
Optical manipulation and sensing for biomedical applications
Sow Chorng Haur's Group
(National Univ. of Singapore)
Colloidal interactions, optical tweezers arrays
B.M. Jaffar's Group
(Anna University, India)
Nano manipulation, Biophotonics
G. R. Kulkarni's Group
(University of Pune, India)
Biophysics and Particle trapping
Yong-Gu Lee's Group
(Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology)
Formation and assembly of micro parts using lasers
Hiroshi Masuhara's Group
(Univ. of Osaka)
Manipulation of nano-particles
G. V. Shivashankar's Group
(National Center for Biological Research, Bangalore)
Single Molecule Biophysics, particle tracking

Useful Resources/information on Optical tweezers


Mazilu et al 2009 A review of advanced beamshaping for optical tweezers
Optical Tweezers Blog A comprehensive guide to recent optical tweezers publications
K. Dholakia et al Physics World Article (pdf) Recent review of state of the art tweezers
D. McGloin et al OE Magazine Article (pdf) Review of Bessel beam optical tweezers
M. Lang and S. Block Am. J. Phys. Resource Letter on Optical Tweezers
A. Ashkin Optical trapping and manipulation of neutral particles using lasers
S. Block Construction of Optical Tweezers, from Cells: A Laboratory Manual
M. Williams Optical tweezers: measuring piconewton forces, from Biophysics Textbook Online
Special Edition of Journal of Modern Optics A selection of optical tweezers papers from some of the leading groups
Lab manual for Optical Tweezers,
Student report on trapping and ablation
From UCSD website, experiments run by Prof. David Kleinfeld Gentle intro to Tweezers, with experimental advice.
Carlos Bustamante Video Lecture Grabbing the Cat by the Tail: Packaging of DNA by Single Particles of Baceriophage phi29
K. C. Neuman and S. Block (pdf) Recent optical trapping review paper (New 9/09/05)
K.C. Neuman Video lecture Introduction to optical trapping: the single beam gradient trap (New 9/09/05)
S. B. Smith Video Lectures (1) + (2) Biophysics with optical tweezers (1) and Introduction to optical tweezers (2) (New 9/09/05)
Shaevitz Lab A Practical Guide to Optical Trapping
Holographic Optics Tweezers Holographic Optical Trapping," G. C. Spalding, J. Courtial, R. Di Leonardo , in Structured Light and its Applications: An Introduction to Phase-Structured Beams and Nanoscale Optical Forces , edited by D. L. Andrews, Elsevier Press (2008) In Press.