We report on the development and testing of a compact laser tweezers Raman spectroscopy (LTRS) system. The system combines optical trapping and near-infrared Raman spectroscopy for manipulation and identification of single biological cells in solution. A low-power diode laser at 785 nm was used for both trapping and excitation for Raman spectroscopy of the suspended microscopic particles. The design of the LTRS system provides high sensitivity and permits real-time spectroscopic measurements of the biological sample. The system was calibrated by use of polystyrene microbeads and tested on living blood cells and on both living and dead yeast cells. As expected, different images and Raman spectra were observed for the different cells. The LTRS system may provide a valuable tool for the study of fundamental cellular processes and the diagnosis of cellular disorders.
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