The generalized phase contrast (GPC) method has been applied to transform a single TEM00 beam into a manifold of counterpropagating-beam traps capable of real-time interactive manipulation of multiple microparticles in three dimensions (3D). This paper reports on the use of low numerical aperture (NA), non-immersion, objective lenses in an implementation of the GPC-based 3D trapping system. Contrary to high-NA based optical tweezers, the GPC trapping system demonstrated here operates with long working distance (>10 mm), and offers a wider manipulation region and a larger field of view for imaging through each of the two opposing objective lenses. As a consequence of the large working distance, simultaneous monitoring of the trapped particles in a second orthogonal observation plane is demonstrated.
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