Abstract

We present a versatile three-lens optical design to improve the overall compactness, efficiency, and robustness for optical tweezers based applications. The design, inspired by the Cooke–Triplet configuration, allows for continuous beam magnifications of 210×, and axial as well as lateral focal shifts can be realized without switching lenses or introducing optical aberrations. We quantify the beam quality and trapping stiffness and compare the Cooke–Triplet design with the commonly used double Kepler design through simulations and direct experiments. Optical trapping of 1 and 2 μm beads shows that the Cooke–Triplet possesses an equally strong optical trap stiffness compared to the double Kepler lens design but reduces its lens system length by a factor of 2.6. Finally, we demonstrate how a Twyman–Green interferometer integrated in the Cooke–Triplet optical tweezers setup provides a fast and simple method to characterize the wavefront aberrations in the lens system and how it can help in aligning the optical components perfectly.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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