Photonic force microscope

Photonic force microscopy (PFM) is an optical-tweezers-based microscopy technique. A small dielectric particle (20 nm to several micrometres) is held by a strongly focused laser beam.

The forward scattered light, i.e. the light whose orientation is slightly changed while passing through the particle, and unscattered light are collected by a lens and projected onto a Quadrant Photo-Diode (QPD), i.e. a Position sensitive device (PSD). These two components interfere in the detector and produce signals, which permit the detection of the bead's position in three dimensions. The precision is very good (as low as 1 nm) and the recording speed is very high (up to 1 MHz). The time sequence of measured positions allows one to derive the optical potential in which the particle is held.

The PFM is sensitive to the environment of the particle and has been used in a variety of different experiments that e.g. monitor space that can be filled by particles inside agarose or the fate of small latex beads captured by macrophages.

The concept of was invented in 1993 by Ghislain and W. W. Webb, while the name of photonic force microscope was first used in 1998 by Ernst-Ludwig Florin, J. Heinrich Hoerber and Ernst H.K. Stelzer during their stays at EMBL, who also contributed in developing the technique further.

External links

* [ more Info]
* [ research with the PFM at the University of Freiburg]

Commercial PFM system

* [ JPK Instruments]

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