Optical trapping forces on biological cells on a waveguide surface

Pål Løvhaugen, Balpreet S. Ahluwalia, Thomas R Huser, Peter McCourt, Olav Gaute Hellesø

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


A three dimensional finite element method is used to model the forces acting on red blood cells trapped on an optical waveguide surface. The parameters are chosen to correspond to strip waveguides made of tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5). A wavelength of 1070 nm is used and the cells are taken to be spherical. Gradient and scattering forces experienced by the cells are studied and found to be highly dependent on the refractive index of the cells. Gradient forces are found to be one order of magnitude larger than scattering forces. Only the lower part of the cells is in contact with the evanescent field of the waveguide. For low refractive indices, we find that the lower 0.5-1 μm of the cells is sufficient to determine the optical forces. For the cell sizes considered, all forces increase with the size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2011
EventImaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues IX - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2011Jan 25 2011


OtherImaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues IX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • finite element method
  • optical forces
  • optical trapping simulation
  • red blood cell simulation
  • waveguide simulation
  • Waveguide trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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