Three-dimensional optical manipulation of microparticles, cells, and biomolecules in a noncontact and noninvasive manner is crucial for biophotonic, nanophotonic, and biomedical fields. Optical tweezers, as a standard optical manipulation technique, have some limitations in precise manipulation of micro-objects in microfluidics and in vivo because of their bulky lens system and limited penetration depth. Moreover, when applied for trapping nanoscale objects, especially with sizes smaller than 100 nm, the strength of optical tweezers becomes significantly weak due to the diffraction limit of light. The emerging near-field methods, such as plasmon tweezers and photonic crystal resonators, have enabled surpassing of the diffraction limit. However, these methods msay lead to local heating effects that will damage the biological specimens and reduce the trapping stability. Furthermore, the available near-field techniques rely on complex nanostructures fixed on substrates, which are usually used for 2D manipulation. The optical tweezers are of great potential for the applications including nanostructure assembly, cancer cell sorting, targeted drug delivery, single-molecule studies, and biosensing.
Part of the book: Emerging Micro