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On-Chip Particle Trapping and Manipulation


The ability to control and manipulate the world around us is human nature. Humans and our ancestors have used tools for millions of years. Only in recent years have we been able to control objects at such small levels. In order to understand the world around us it is frequently necessary to interact with the biological world. Optical trapping and manipulation offer a non-invasive way to move, sort and interact with particles and cells to see how they react to the world around them. Optical tweezers are ideal in their abilities but they require large, non-portable, and expensive setups limiting how and where we can use them.

A cheap portable platform is required in order to have optical manipulation reach its full potential. On-chip technology offers a great solution to this challenge. We focused on the Liquid-Core Anti-Resonant Reflecting Optical Waveguide (liquid-core ARROW) for our work. The ARROW is an ideal platform, which has anti-resonant layers which allow light to be guided in liquids, allowing for particles to easily be manipulated. It is manufactured using standard silicon manufacturing techniques making it easy to produce. The planner design makes it easy to integrate with other technologies.

Initially I worked to improve the ARROW chip by reducing the intersection losses and by reducing the fluorescence and background on the ARROW chip. The ARROW chip has already been used to trap and push particles along its channel but here I introduce several new methods of particle trapping and manipulation on the ARROW chip. Traditional two beam traps use two counter propagating beams. A trapping scheme that uses two orthogonal beams which counter to first instinct allow for trapping at their intersection is introduced. This scheme is thoroughly predicted and analyzed using realistic conditions. Simulations of this method were done using a program which looks at both the fluidics and optical sources to model complex situations. These simulations were also used to model and predict a sorting method which combines fluid flow with a single optical source to automatically sort dielectric particles by size in waveguide networks. These simulations were shown to be accurate when repeated on-chip. Lastly I introduce a particle trapping technique that uses Multimode Interference(MMI) patterns in order to trap multiple particles at once. The location of the traps can be adjusted as can the number of trapping location by changing the input wavelength. By changing the wavelength back and forth between two values this MMI can be used to pass a particle down the channel like a conveyor belt.

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