Rotating live mammalian cells free in media using spatial light modulator (SLM)-generated optical tweezers
In the frenzy of next generation genetic sequencing and proteomics, single-cell level analysis has begun to find its place in the crux of personalized medicine and cancer research. Single live cell 3D imaging technology is one of the most useful ways of providing spatial and morphological details inside living single cells. It provides a window to uncover the mysteries of protein structure and folding, as well as genetic expression over time, which will tremendously improve the state of the fields of biophysics and biomedical research. This thesis project specifically demonstrates a method for live single cell rotation required to image them in the single live cell CT imaging platform. The method of rotation proposed in this thesis uses dynamic optical traps generated by a phase-only spatial light modulator (SLM) to exert torque on a single mammalian cell. Laser patterns carrying the holographic information of the traps are delivered from the SLM through a transformation telescope into the objective lens and onto its focal plane to produce the desired optical trap "image". The phase information in the laser patterns being delivered are continuously altered by the SLM such that the structure of the wavefront produces two foci at opposite edges of the cell of interest that each moves along the circumference of the cell in opposite axial directions. Momentum generated by the motion of the foci exerts a torque on the cell, causing it to rotate. The viability of this method was demonstrated experimentally. Software was written using LabVIEW to control the display panel of the SLM.