The formation principle of micro-droplets induced by using optical tweezers†
Utilizing droplets as micro-tools has become a valuable method in biology and chemistry. In previous work, we have demonstrated a novel droplet generation–manipulation method in a conventional optical tweezer system. Here, a further study of the droplet composition and its formation principle is performed. First, it is proved through Raman spectra that the principal component of the droplets is HPO42− solution. Considering that the generated droplet size is at the μm level, we have adopted a variety of methods in experiments to reduce external interference. Second, using a confocal microscopic video camera, the growth process of the droplet is completely recorded in a common glass-based chamber. The finite element simulations help us to further understand that the droplet generation process using optical tweezers can be divided into two stages: “capture” caused by optical force field and “aggregation” induced by a photothermal phenomenon and thermal acceleration. Through these studies, the nature of the optical tweezer-generated droplets is revealed. As a general principle for the droplet generation, this method will provide inspiration and prospects in the fields of microfluidics and biophysics-chemistry.