Throughout the course of her Nuffield Foundation project this summer Radhika Patel will be making updates of her progress on our blog. Her second instalment is below.
Radhika writes: Since working on the optical tweezers setup with Susan Skelton, I have helped install and refine a “particle tracking system” which tracks the particle’s Brownian motion in the trap using the backscattered light from a 'probe' laser beam. We can use this method to measure the spring constant of the optical trap, and calibrate the detector sensitivity so that we can make measurements of the particle’s displacement and the absolute force applied.
We have been visited by Maria Grazia Donato from IPCF-CNR (Messina) and Gianluca Memoli from NPL this week also. Having worked with optics for many years, they have helped improve the experiment as well as my understanding of ray optics and optical tweezers.