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Optical trapping in animal and fungal cells using a tunable, near-infrared titanium-sapphire laser

  • Author(s): Berns, MW
  • Aist, JR
  • Wright, WH
  • Liang, H
  • et al.
Abstract

We have compared two different laser-induced optical light traps for their utility in moving organelles within living animal cells and walled fungal cells. The first trap employed a continuous wave neodymium-yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd-YAG) laser at a wave-length of 1.06 μm. A second trap was constructed using a titanium-sapphire laser tunable from 700 to 1000 nm. With the latter trap we were able to achieve much stronger traps with less laser power and without damage to either mitochondria or spindles. Chromosomes and nuclei were easily displaced, nucleoli were separated and moved far away from interphase nuclei, and Woronin bodies were removed from septa. In comparison, these manipulations were not possible with the Nd-YAG laser-induced trap. The optical force trap induced by the tunable titanium-sapphire laser should find wide application in experimental cell biology because the wavelength can be selected for maximization of force production and minimization of energy absorption which leads to unwanted cell damage. © 1992.

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