Professor Arnold's lectures shed light on 'optical tractor beams' in biosensing

[USER:47|profilelink], Institute and Thomas Potts Professor of Physics, and director of Polytechnic’s MicroParticle PhotoPhysics Lab (MP3L), presented lectures at a NATO Advanced Study Institute in Erice, Italy this July about his lab’s discoveries in nanoparticle transport by light.

His presentations centered on a technique he has dubbed an “optical tractor beam” which draws individual viral-sized nanoparticles toward the Whispering Gallery Mode Biosensor he invented with Iwao Teraoka of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Department. A prototype of the biosensor is able to detect individual viruses and other infectious agents in real-time, a potential clinical dream-come-true.

The tractor beam enhances the biosensor’s sensitivity by attracting nanoparticles and propelling them into orbit about the microspherical sensor’s equator. 

A publication describing this advance, which creates a new area for nanoparticle transport by light, is available online.