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Modular Optical Tweezers


Modular Optical Tweezers

  • Complete Optical Trapping Kit
  • Inverted Microscope Design
  • 975 nm Trap Laser (340 mW Max Power)


  • Trap Laser
    • SM Fiber Coupled DFB Laser, 14-Pin Butterfly Package
    • 975 nm, 340 mW (Max)
    • Integrated TEC Element for Temperature Stabilized Output
    • LD Controller and Mount Included
  • Nikon 100X Oil Immersion Objective
  • Inverted Light Microscope Design
  • 3-Axis Sample Positioning Stage
  • CCD Camera with USB Interface for Video Imaging
  • Position-Sensing Detector Module Available

The OTKB (OTKB/M) Modular Optical Tweezers consists of five pre-assembled segments with which optical tweezers, also known as an optical trap, can be constructed. The advantage to purchasing and assembling this kit is the flexibility it provides over other closed optical tweezers systems. Since the optical tweezers system is built using standard Thorlabs' components, it is easy to modify or upgrade the system using other standard components. The kit is shipped in pre-assembled segments and will only require final coupling of segments and alignment. A step-by-step assembly instruction manual is provided with each kit. Once constructed, we suggest our OTKBTK Sample Preparation Kit, which provides users with everything necessary to prepare a sample and determine that their optical tweezers have been properly assembled and functioning. For customers who prefer to have the system shipped assembled, aligned, and tested on a breadboard, we are able to provide this at an additional cost. We also offer a module that adds computer-controlled trap positioning to the optical tweezer system by integrating our 2D galvo mirror system. This is described under the Applications Module tab above. We also describe a module that enables you to add fluorescence spectroscopy to the system. If you are interested in either the assembled version, the steering module, or fluorescence module, and would like to receive a quotation.

S. Wasserman, D. Appleyard and M. Lang at the Department of Biological Engineering, MIT published an article (Optical Trapping for Undergraduates, Am. J. Phys. 75 (1), January 2007) on an optical tweezers system that they designed and built for use in teaching labs. Thorlabs, in collaboration with the aforementioned, has developed this kit so that others may build optical tweezers with similar capabilities as the system published in the American Journal of Physics. Thorlabs' optical tweezers, or optical traps, have been employed in numerous experiments and have been utilized in many graduate-level instructional laboratories.

One of the principal advantages of the OTKB (OTKB/M) optical tweezers kit over a black box system is the ease with which the design of the optical trap can be modified to add functionality. For example, the OTKBFM is a position sensing module that can be easily attached to the base OTKB (OTKB/M) kit. Unlike the fully functional OTKB (OTKB/M) kit, an additional DAQ card and software will be required to calibrate the position, stiffness, and force of the optical trap using the OTKBFM position sensing module. The OTKBFM position sensing module does provide the user with the components needed to add calibration capability to the OTKB (OTKB/M) optical trap.


Laser Safety

Whenever operating a laser, it is imperative to pay attention to the classification of the laser and observe appropriate laser safety procedures. Thorlabs' Optical Tweezers Kit uses a 975 nm, 340 mW laser. As the laser beam is predominantly encased by lens tubes, not operated near its maximum power, and the only exposed beam is divergent after the sample, the system may be considered Class 1 when fully assembled and functioning properly. However, if the trap is not assembled or exposure to the laser beam is possible, then the system should be treated as a Class 3B laser. In this instance appropriate safety procedures and care must be taken including, but not limited to, the use of laser safety glasses.


High Numerical Aperture Objectives

  • RMS100X-PFO is an Olympus 1.30 NA Objective
  • N100X-PFO is a Nikon 1.30 NA Objective

For applications that involve the optical trapping and manipulation of higher index particles such as polystyrene beads, we recommend a plan fluorite or semi-apochromatic objective that has a higher numerical aperture than the standard 1.25 NA objective included with the OTKB kit. A higher NA objective willl enable single particle spectroscopy, such as the trapping of a polystyrene probe bead while simultaneously exciting and observing the fluorescence from the trapped bead


Slide Holder

  • Perfect for Integration into our Optical Tweezer Kit
  • Dimensions: 101.6 mm x 68.6 mm x 12.7 mm (4" x 2.7" x 0.5")

The MAX3SLH Microscopy Slide Holder offers your motion control stages the ability to mount petri dishes and glass slides for integration into personalized microscopy setups such as our OTKB optical tweezers. One set of four 6-32 (M3) counterbores and one set of 1/4"-20 (M6) slots allow mounting versatility. The spring clips are also rotatable to accommodate easy swapping of petri dishes and glass slides.


Sample Preparation Kit

The OTKBTK is designed for use with our OTKB Modular Optical Tweezers and our OTM200 Optical Tweezers Microscope System and allows users to quickly prepare a sample and test for optical trapping once they have completed construction. Included with the kit are the following:

  • Non-Drying Immersion Oil for Microscopy, Cargille Type B
  • Non-Functionalized Fused Silica Beads in Deionized Water, Ø1 µm,
    <0.5 g/ml
  • Mini Pipette with a 50 µL Volume
  • Two Plastic Slides with Built-In Channel, 400 µm Height, 100 µL Volume
  • Dropper for Immersion Oil


Our Mission is to accelerate the advancement of optical technology for precision measurements and their applications from the table tops of research laboratories to standard use in communication and high technology industries. Our aim is to serve our customers. Our hope is to create a place for highly skilled people in an open environment

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