Three-dimensional holographic optical manipulation through a high-numerical-aperture soft-glass multimode fibre


Holographic optical tweezers (HOT) hold great promise for many applications in biophotonics, allowing the creation and measurement of minuscule forces on biomolecules, molecular motors and cells. Geometries used in HOT currently rely on bulk optics, and their exploitation in vivo is compromised by the optically turbid nature of tissues. We present an alternative HOT approach in which multiple three-dimensional (3D) traps are introduced through a high-numerical-aperture multimode optical fibre, thus enabling an equally versatile means of manipulation through channels having cross-section comparable to the size of a single cell. Our work demonstrates real-time manipulation of 3D arrangements of micro-objects, as well as manipulation inside otherwise inaccessible cavities. We show that the traps can be formed over fibre lengths exceeding 100 mm and positioned with nanometric resolution. The results provide the basis for holographic manipulation and other high-numerical-aperture techniques, including advanced microscopy, through single-core-fibre endoscopes deep inside living tissues and other complex environments.

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Fig. 1: High-resolution focusing through an MMF.
Fig. 2: Multiple holographic tweezers delivered through a lensless MMF.
Fig. 3: Particle tracking based on symmetry and principal component analysis.
Fig. 4: Performance of MMF-based holographic tweezers.


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I.T.L. and S.T. acknowledge funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under REA grant agreement no. 608144. I.T.L., S.T. and T.Č. also acknowledge financial support from the Thüringer Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Digitale Gesellschaft, the Thüringer Aufbaubank and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (BMBF). M.Š. and T.Č. acknowledge support from the European Regional Development Fund through project no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15003/0000476. T.Č. also acknowledges the University of Dundee and SUPA (Scottish Universities Physics Alliance; PaLS initiative) for financial support. X.J. and P.St.J.R. thank F. Babic for assistance with drawing the fibres. The authors also thank K. Wilcox and Elliot Scientific Ltd for lending equipment used in the experiments.

Author information

I.T.L., S.T. and T.Č. performed all experiments. X.J. and P.St.J.R. designed and manufactured the optical fibres. M.Š. modelled the optical tweezers. I.T.L., A.C. and T.Č. analysed the results. T.Č. led the project. I.T.L. and T.Č. wrote the manuscript with contributions from all authors.

Correspondence to Tomáš Čižmár.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary methods and results. This file was missing when the Article was first published; it was uploaded 14 December 2017.


Supplementary Video 1

Dynamic holographic optical tweezers (HOT) manipulation of eight particles in a rotating cube arrangement.

Supplementary Video 2

Dynamic HOT manipulation of six particles illustrating Bohr’s model of the He atom.

Supplementary Video 3

Dynamic HOT axial manipulation of two particles.

Supplementary Video 4

Dynamic HOT manipulation inside a semi-opaque cavity.

Supplementary Video 5

Stability of a static HOT while bending the multimode fibre.

Supplementary Video 6

Simulation of focus fine positioning.

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Leite, I.T., Turtaev, S., Jiang, X. et al. Three-dimensional holographic optical manipulation through a high-numerical-aperture soft-glass multimode fibre. Nature Photon 12, 33–39 (2018) doi:10.1038/s41566-017-0053-8

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