Abstract

The recent advent of angular optical trapping techniques has allowed for rotational control and direct torque measurement on biological substrates. Here we present a method that increases the versatility and flexibility of these techniques. We demonstrate that a single beam with a rapidly rotating linear polarization can be utilized to apply a constant controllable torque to a trapped particle without active feedback, while simultaneously measuring the particle angular position. In addition, this device can rapidly switch between a torque wrench and an angular trap. These features should make possible torsional measurements across a wide range of biological systems.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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