Holographic optical tweezers in vivo and in vitro | Holographic optical stretcher

We are interested in the influence of biomechanical properties on cellular processes and function, especially the viscoelastic properties of cells, blood and whole organisms. Their influence on migration and development is of high interest for biomedical and biophysical research. As model organisms we investigate zebrafish embryos, 3T3 fibroblasts, neurons and more depending on the requirements.

Optical tweezers can be applied for qualitative control and manipulation experiments. In our cooperations with other labs from the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence we are interested in working on biological questions ranging from the single cell level to the whole organism. This puts specific requirements on the experimental setup, methods and evaluation procedures.

We showed the possibility to trap red blood cells in unperturbed in vivo blood flow (a) to (c). This enables us to investigate them over a longer period of time without misinterpretation of multiple red blood cells for one(c).

Further experiments with single cells in vitro show the applicability of holographic optical tweezers to deform and steer cells (d). It gives us access to the biomechanical properties of the cell, such as the Youngs Modulus.