The field of biophotonics combines the areas of biology with photonics, the science of light manipulation. It utilizes light to study biological questions such as by combining state-of-the-art biological questions and photonic methods. Many top-research areas are focused on the detection and visualization of intra- and intercellular processes. Applications are found in medical diagnostic, e.g. in oncology, single-cell studies as well as cell sorting assays. These applications require the development of new spectroscopic methods and imaging systems of the highest specificity, sensitivity, and resolution.
Our group places special focus on understanding chemical, electrical and mechanical properties and cues of building pieces of cells and bacteria. To determine such biomechanical properties within and around living cells we employ optical tweezers. Their inherent non-contact light-only driven manipulation helps us to keep cells in their favorite environment without distortions by needles or other means of manipulation.
By combining optical tweezers with holographic modulating technologies we are able to split a single laser beam into many optical tweezers. This is called the holographic optical tweezers (ref. HOT, AB).