Abstract

We assess the influence of geometric aberrations on the in-plane performance of optical traps by studying the dynamics of trapped colloidal spheres in deliberately distorted holographic optical tweezers. The lateral stiffness of the traps turns out to be insensitive to moderate amounts of coma, astigmatism, and spherical aberration. Moreover holographic aberration correction enables us to compensate inherent shortcomings in the optical train, thereby adaptively improving its performance. We also demonstrate the effects of geometric aberrations on the intensity profiles of optical vortices, whose readily measured deformations suggest a method for rapidly estimating and correcting geometric aberrations in holographic trapping systems.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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