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Issue 12, 2017
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Microfluidic-based high-throughput optical trapping of nanoparticles

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Optical tweezers have emerged as a powerful tool for multiparametric analysis of individual nanoparticles with single-molecule sensitivity. However, its inherent low-throughput characteristic remains a major obstacle to its applications within and beyond the laboratory. This limitation is further exacerbated when working with low concentration nanoparticle samples. Here, we present a microfluidic-based optical tweezers system that can ‘actively’ deliver nanoparticles to a designated microfluidic region for optical trapping and analysis. The active microfluidic delivery of nanoparticles results in significantly improved throughput and efficiency for optical trapping of nanoparticles. We observed a more than tenfold increase in optical trapping throughput for nanoparticles as compared to conventional systems at the same nanoparticle concentration. To demonstrate the utility of this microfluidic-based optical tweezers system, we further used back-focal plane interferometry coupled with a trapping laser for the precise quantitation of nanoparticle size without prior knowledge of the refractive index of nanoparticles. The development of this microfluidic-based active optical tweezers system thus opens the door to high-throughput multiparametric analysis of nanoparticles using precision optical traps in the future.

Graphical abstract: Microfluidic-based high-throughput optical trapping of nanoparticles

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Article information

17 Mar 2017
17 May 2017
First published
19 May 2017

Lab Chip, 2017,17, 2125-2134
Article type

Microfluidic-based high-throughput optical trapping of nanoparticles

A. Kotnala, Y. Zheng, J. Fu and W. Cheng, Lab Chip, 2017, 17, 2125
DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00286F

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