REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS
A compact optical tweezer package has been developed for use on a microscope to be flown on the International Space Station as part of a series of experiments in colloid crystallization. A brief introduction to the principles of single-beam optical tweezer operation will be presented, after which a detailed system layout will be shown. Special design requirements due to the spaceflight nature of the hardware will also be discussed. The tweezer apparatus is capable of trapping many particles through use of a two-axis acousto-optical deflector. The trap strength is sufficient to perform the required science (50 pN at Δn=0.2). The trap beam behaves approximately as a diffraction limited single mode Gaussian beam of numerical aperture, NA=1.4, as shown through spot size measurements and confocal-type images of the focal region. This is the first time optical tweezers will be deployed in a microgravity environment.
Resnick, Andrew, "Design and Construction of A Space-Borne Optical Tweezer Apparatus" (2001). Physics Faculty Publications. 243.
© 2003 American Institute of Physics.