Abstract

We report an improved method for calibrating the nonlinear region of a single-beam gradient optical trap. Through analysis of the position fluctuations of a trapped object that is displaced from the trap center by controlled flow we measure the local trap stiffness in both the linear and nonlinear regimes without knowledge of the magnitude of the applied external forces. This approach requires only knowledge of the system temperature, and is especially useful for measurements involving trapped objects of unknown size, or objects in a fluid of unknown viscosity.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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