Novel Optical Micro-manipulator and Micro-rotator

Introduction Non-invasive manipulation of micro- and nano-scale objects with rotational capability is attractive for various biomedical applications such as constructing biofims, human tissue engineering, and in vitro fertilization. The technology is also uselful for nano-fabrication such as aligning nanotubes and other nanoscale objects. This is currently done using dielectrophoresis, but this method is limited to coarse orientation control, and fixed electrodes limit the area of bio-construction. Optical tweezers are another method, but they require a high optical intensity which makes photodamage to cells a concern. Technology description UW researchers have developed a novel approach for optical manipulation and rotation of micro- and nano- particles that utilizes polarized light to excite dipoles on a conductive surface. This method has the advantage of fine orientation control with better than 1 degree resolution and requires an optical intensity 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than conventional optical tweezers. Business opportunity This technology will be of interest for applications requiring fine rotational control over very small objects. This device can be used for creating nanoscale devices and for performing novel cell-based assays where single cell precision is important. Also, this technology can be used to facilitate tissue engineering. Stage of development Research in this area is ongoing. Intellectual property position The University of Washington has filed a provisional patent on this technology.

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