Optical separation of cells on potential energy landscapes: Enhancement with dielectric tagging

Kishan Dholakia, Woei Ming Lee, Lynn Paterson, Michael P. MacDonald, Richard McDonald, Igor Andreev, Patience Mthunzi, C. Tom A. Brown, Robert F. Marchington, Andrew C. Riches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We review the emergent techniques of microfluidic sorting of colloidal and cellular samples using optical forces. We distinguish between what we term as passive and active forms of particle sorting where we can sort either with the use of a fluorescent marker (active) or based on physical attributes alone (passive). We then examine cell sorting with optical potential landscapes such as a Bessel light beam and a multibeam interference pattern. For both forms of optical potential energy landscape, we further present the possibility of enhancing the optical sorting process by tagging dielectric microspheres onto the cells. The results suggest that the methodology of tagging can enhance the sorting of cells as they subsequently respond more strongly to an applied optical field or potential energy landscape. This technique presents a simple method to enhance the sorting process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1646-1654
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received September 6, 2007; revised October 12, 2007. This work was supported by the European Science Foundation under Grant Novel Optical Methods For Self-Assembled Nanostructures (NOMSAN), which was supported by grants from the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Framework Six Programme.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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