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Laser tweezers go nano

  January 5/12, 2009
Condense laser light in a nanoscale channel and you can trap and move nanoparticles and individual molecules.

Lasers have been used to trap and move microscopic objects including individual cells for years. The new channel technique -- sub-wavelengths slot waveguides -- extends laser tweezers to the nanoscale.

Researchers used a prototype to manipulate individual unadulterated DNA molecules in a biochip.

The technique could be used to study biological molecules and eventually build nanomachines.

Research paper:
Optical Manipulation of Nanoparticles and Biomolecules in Sub-wavelength Slot Waveguides
Nature, January 1, 2009

Researchers' homepages:
Allen H. J. Yang
Michal Lipson
David Erickson

Related stories and briefs:
Laser tweezer traps nanotubes -- related research

Back to TRN January 5/12, 2009

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