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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Automated motile cell capture and analysis with optical traps.

  • Author(s): Shao, Bing
  • Nascimento, Jaclyn M
  • Shi, Linda Z
  • Botvinick, Elliot L
  • Editor(s): Berns, MW
  • Greulich, KO
  • et al.

Laser trapping in the near infrared regime is a noninvasive and microfluidic-compatible biomedical tool. This chapter examines the use of optical trapping as a quantitative measure of sperm motility. The single point gradient trap is used to directly measure the swimming forces of sperm from several different species. These forces could provide useful information about the overall sperm motility and semen quality. The swimming force is measured by trapping sperm and subsequently decreasing laser power until the sperm is capable of escaping the trap. Swimming trajectories were calculated by custom built software, an automatic sperm tracking algorithm called the single sperm tracking algorithm or SSTA. A real-time automated tracking and trapping system, or RATTS, which operates at video rate, was developed to perform experiments with minimal human involvement. After the experimenter initially identifies and clicks the computer mouse on the sperm-of-interest, RATTS performs all further tracking and trapping functions without human intervention. Additionally, an annular laser trap which is potentially useful for high-throughput sperm sorting based on motility and chemotaxis was developed. This low power trap offers a more gentle way for studying the effects of laser radiation, optical force, and external obstacles on sperm swimming pattern.

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