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Red blood cell micromanipulation with elliptical laser beam profile optical tweezers in different osmolarity conditions

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In this work optical tweezers with elliptical beam profiles have been developed in order to examine the effect of optical force on fresh red blood cells (RBC) in isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic buffer solutions. Considering that the optical force depends essentially on the cell surface and the cytoplasmic refractive index, it is obvious that biochemical modifications associated with different states of the cell will influence its behaviour in the optical trap. Line optical tweezers were used to manipulate simultaneously more than one red blood cell.

After we have been manipulated a RBC with an elliptical laser beam profile in an isotonic or hypertonic buffer, we noticed that it rotates by itself when gets trapped by optical tweezers and undergoes folding. Further shape deformations can be observed attributed to the competition between alignment and rotational torque which are transferred by laser light to the cell. In hypotonic buffer RBCs become spherical and do not rotate or fold since the resultant force due to rays emerging from diametrically opposite points of the cell leads to zero torque. Manipulation of fresh red blood cells in isotonic solution by line optical tweezers leads to folding and elongation of trapped RBCs. Membrane elasticity properties such as bending modulus can be estimated by measuring RBC’s folding time in function with laser power.

© 2011 OSA/SPIE

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