Three-dimensional optical trapping and orientation of microparticles for coherent X-ray diffraction imaging
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Gao, Yuan et al. Three-dimensional optical trapping and orientation of microparticles for coherent X-ray diffraction imaging. PNAS 116 (Feb. 14, 2019), no. 10: 4018-4024. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1720785116
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Optical trapping has been implemented in many areas of physics and biology as a noncontact sample manipulation technique to study the structure and dynamics of nano- and mesoscale objects. It provides a unique approach for manipulating microscopic objects without inducing undesired changes in structure. Combining optical trapping with hard X-ray microscopy techniques, such as coherent diffraction imaging and crystallography, provides a nonperturbing environment where electronic and structural dynamics of an individual particle in solution can be followed in situ. It was previously shown that optical trapping allows the manipulation of micrometer-sized objects for X-ray fluorescence imaging. However, questions remain over the ability of optical trapping to position objects for X-ray diffraction measurements, which have stringent requirements for angular stability. Our work demonstrates that dynamic holographic optical tweezers are capable of manipulating single micrometer-scale anisotropic particles in a microfluidic environment with the precision and stability required for X-ray Bragg diffraction experiments—thus functioning as an “optical goniometer.” The methodology can be extended to a variety of X-ray experiments and the Bragg coherent diffractive imaging of individual particles in solution, as demonstrated here, will be markedly enhanced with the advent of brighter, coherent X-ray sources.