This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for discoveries in laser physics, recognizes optical tweezers. Now researchers from the University of Gothenburg have developed a method that greatly simplifies and improves the use of optical tweezers.
“The idea came to me during a visit to the National Autonomous University of Mexico last year. It turned out that the lab there already had all the data needed to prove that this new method worked,” says Giovanni Volpe, a senior lecturer at the Department of Physics, University of Gothenburg.
Optical tweezers were discovered in the late 1980s. They can be described as light beam fingers that can take hold of particles, atoms, molecules and even bacteria and other living cells. The technique consists of an optical laser with the ability to hold onto a single cell, for example, without damaging it. This makes it possible to make very precise measurements.