Optical "snowblowing" of microparticles and cells in a microfluidic environment using Airy and parabolic wavepackets

Jörg Baumgartl, Gregor M. Hannappel, David J. Stevenson, Michael Mazilu, Daniel Day, Min Gu, Kishan Dholakia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


The year 2007 witnessed the experimental realization of extraordinary laser beams termed Airy and parabolic beams. Surprisingly, these beams are immune to diffraction and in addition exhibit transverse acceleration while propagating. This peculiar property of both Airy and parabolic beams facilitates the clearance of both microparticles and cells from a region in a sample chamber through particle/cell transport along curved trajectories. We term this concept "Optically mediated particle clearing" (OMPC) and, alternatively, "Optical redistribution" (OR) in the presence of a microfluidic environment, where particles and cells are propelled over micrometersized walls. Intuitively, Airy and parabolic beams act as a form of micrometer-sized "snowblower" attracting microparticles or cells at the bottom of a sample chamber to blow them in an arc to another region of the sample. In this work, we discuss the performance and limitations of OMPC and OR which are currently based on a single Airy beam optionally fed by a single parabolic beam. A possible strategy to massively enhance the performance of OMPC and OR is based on large arrays of Airy beams. We demonstrate the first experimental realization of such arrays.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 2009 Aug 22009 Aug 6

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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