Full 3D translational and rotational optical control of multiple rod-shaped bacteria



The class of rod-shaped bacteria is an important example of non-spherical objects where defined alignment is desired for the observation of intracellular processes or studies of the flagella. However, all available methods for orientational control of rod-shaped bacteria are either limited with respect to the accessible rotational axes or feasible angles or restricted to one single bacterium. In this paper we demonstrate a scheme to orientate rod-shaped bacteria with holographic optical tweezers (HOT) in any direction. While these bacteria have a strong preference to align along the direction of the incident laser beam, our scheme provides for the first time full rotational control of multiple bacteria with respect to any arbitrary axis. In combination with the translational control HOT inherently provide, this enables full control of all three translational and the two important rotational degrees of freedom of multiple rod-shaped bacteria and allows one to arrange them in any desired configuration. (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)