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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Optical tweezers” enable analysis of crystals in liquids

In a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers demonstrate that dynamic holographic optical tweezers are capable of manipulating single micrometer-scale anisotropic particles in a microfluidic environment.

Scientific Achievement

This noncontact sample manipulation technique of optical trapping allows for manipulating single particles in solution, without inducing undesired changes in structure, to obtain 3D maps of shape and strain.

Significance and Impact

Obtaining a fundamental understanding of crystal growth and chemical reactions in solution is of broad interest for materials discovery, structural biology, and catalysis.

Research Details

  • Microfluidic cell fabrication and electrodynamics simulations on the HPC Carbon cluster were performed at CNM.
  • X-ray diffraction data were collected at beamline 34-ID-C at APS. This method, based on dynamic holographic optical trapping in a standing-wave geometry, allows sufficient angular stability to perform Bragg coherent X-ray diffraction imaging (CXDI).

Work was performed in part at the Center for Nanoscale Materials and the Advanced Photon Source.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1720785116

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About Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

About the Advanced Photon Source
This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.