Naturally occurring, optically driven, cellular rotor

Dharmadhikari, J. A.; Roy, S.; Dharmadhikari, A. K.; Sharma, S.; Mathur, D.
December 2004
Applied Physics Letters;12/13/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 24, p6048
Academic Journal
We report the conversion of optical energy into mechanical energy by naturally occurring red blood cells (RBCs) placed in an optical trap. A trapped RBC undergoes folding due to the elastic nature of its cell membrane. On use of circularly polarized light in the trap, the folded RBCs rotate, indicating their birefringence. The cellular rotation speed depends on the size of the blood cells and on laser power. Rotating RBCs have implications for naturally occurring, optically driven, rotary micromachines.


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