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June 2015

  • Júlia Ferrer successfully presented her final Degree in Physics project, devoted to the set-up of a dynamic optical tweezers system including acousto-optic deflectors. Júlia was granted to pursue the 2-year Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Photonics. Good luck Júlia, hope to have you back soon!

April 2015

  • We are glad to know that we have been granted for the next 3 years by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, under the research project "Medida de fuerzas y reología en el interior de células vivas mediante laser tweezers" (FIS2014-60052-R).
  • Arnau and Ferran leave to attend the 2015 OSA Biomedical Optics & Photonics Congress: Optics in the Life Sciences, Optical Trapping Applications (12-15 April), to be held in Vancouver (Canada). Arnau will give an invited talk to present our last results on force measurements in complex samples.

January 2015

  • Estela, Arnau and Ferran attended the great conference Trends in Optical Micromanipulation III (25-30 January). They had a very productive week sharing our results on force measurements on non-spherical particles trapped with non-Gaussian beams and suspended in non-homogeneous media. They had some free time for skiing, too!

December 2014

  • The Impetux team was interviewed at the newspaper La Vanguardia (in catalan).
  • Some good news just before Christmas... again, after a fruitful collaboration with prof. Jochen Guck's group, a paper has been accepted for publication: “A monolithic glass chip for active single-cell sorting based on mechanical phenotyping”. It is available on line in Lab on a Chip.
  • Two new undergraduate students join the group to do their final Degree in Physics project: Rafa Perpiñán and Júlia Ferrer. Welcome!

November 2014

  • The paper “Dynamic operation of optical fibres beyond single-mode regime facilitates the orientation of biological cells” is now available on line in Nature Communications.
  • Dorian Treptow finally presented his German diploma thesis ("Video-based calibration of holographic optical traps"), supervised in Barcelona by Mario Montes-Usategui and Estela Martín-Badosa, and by prof. Norbert Fruehauf in the University of Stuttgart.

October 2014

  • We are glad to announce that, after a collaboration with the group led by prof. Jochen Guck at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge (currently at the Biotechnology Center, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany),  the paper “Dynamic operation of optical fibres beyond single-mode regime facilitates the orientation of biological cells”, has now been accepted for publication in Nature Communications.

September 2014

  • It is finally official: Arnau Farre's thesis has been awarded with the Extraordinary prize for the best thesis in Applied Physics of the course 2012-2013. Congratulations again, Arnau!
  • Noemí Domínguez successfully defended her master thesis, entitled "Measurement of holographic trap positioning". Congratulations, and good luck in your next placement!

August 2014

  • Arnau attended the 23rd Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO), where he received his Justiniano Casas second prize for his thesis, entitled "Momentum measurements of single-beam traps and quantitative holographic experiments: two sides of the same coin". Congratulations again! You can read this news in the SECPho webpage.
  • Mario, Arnau, Ferran and Frederic attended the SPIE Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI conference (17-21 August) to present our last results on force measurement from the changes in light momentum, and its use on irregular samples and for the study of in vivo trapped organelles.

July 2014

  • Undergraduate call: there is an open call (deadline 15 September) of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports for undergraduate students who would like to pursue some work in a research group. You can find the call details here. If you are interested, please contact Estela Martín Badosa.
  • We are really glad to announce that Frederic Català has been awarded with a 4-year grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to pursue his PhD studies. You deserved it, Frede!

June 2014

  • Our patent "Method for manipulating microscopic samples and measuring forces acting thereon" has been finally granted (30 June, publication number ES 2395496).
  • Arnau Farré has been awarded with the Justiniano Casas second prize for research in Optical Imaging, 4th edition, for his thesis, entitled "Momentum measurements of single-beam traps and quantitative holographic experiments: two sides of the same coin". The award ceremony will be held on the 29 of August in Santiago de Compostela during the meeting of the 23rd Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO). Congratulations!
  • On June 25th Astrid Ribot defended her final Degree in Physics project, entitled "Beam steering with spatial light modulators: Quantisation effects". Excellent Astrid!
  • Frederic Català and Estela Martín Badosa have attended the 6th meeting of the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology of the Universitat de Barcelona (6 June), and presented the work "Force measurements on irregular samples with holographic optical tweezers".

May 2014

  • Together with other students of the Master in Photonics, Noemí Domínguez has won the second edition of the SECPhO Photonics Innovation Award, for their project Tueris, in which optical tweezers are applied to in vitro fertilization. Congratulations to all the team!
  • From now on we are an officially recognised Research Group (2014 SGR 807) by the Generalitat de Catalunya.

February 2014

  • The paper "Holographic optical tweezers combined with back-focal-plane displacement detection" has been selected in Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics.
  • We welcome Noemí Domínguez as a new MSc student (Master in Photonics). She will be working on holographic optical trap positioning.

December 2013

  • Our paper "Holographic optical tweezers combined with back-focal-plane displacement detection" is now available on-line.

November 2013

  • Our paper "Holographic optical tweezers combined with back-focal-plane displacement detection" has been accepted for publication in Optics Express.

September 2013

  • Frederic Català brilliantly defended his master thesis work, entitled "Beam steering accuracy in holographic optical tweezers" (10 September, Master in Photonics). Congratulations!

August 2013

  • Frederic Català is attending the International Nanoscience Student Conference (INASCON'2013) in London (19-22 August) to present his work on the analysis and improvement of holographic trap positioning.

July 2013

June 2013

  • On June 11th Noemí Domínguez brilliantly defened her final Degree in Physics project, entitled "Construction of an Optical Trapping System". Well done Noe!

May 2013

  • You can now watch the new YouTube video to present the Master in Photonics.

April 2013

  • Dorian Treptow is visiting us for one week.

March 2013

February 2013

  • Aleix Llenas joins the group with a scholarship for research collaboration. He will be working on automatic trapping inside living cells.
  • Frederic Català, who joined the group as an undergraduate student one year ago, is currently working in his master thesis project, related to beam steering accuracy in holographic optical tweezers.

January 2013

  • Mario Montes is at the 7th biennial workshop on Single Molecule Biophysics (SMB), held at Aspen, Colorado (6-12 January) to present our work "Intracellular force measurements with optical tweezers based on the momentum method".

November 2012

October 2012

  • Last Wednesday (24-10-2012), Carol López brilliantly defended her PhD thesis, entitled "Manipulació òptica i seguiment amb precisió nanomètrica per estudis de transport en cèl·lules vives", before a committee composed by Prof. D. Ludevid (Centre de Recerca en Agrigenòmica), Prof. I. Juvells (Universitat de Barcelona) and Dr. J. Andilla (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques).
Well done Carol and congratulations Dr. López!
  • We are pleased to announce the forthcoming thesis defense of Carol López:
    • Title: Manipulació òptica i seguiment amb precisió nanomètrica per estudis de transport en
      cèl·lules vives
    • Date/time: Wednesday, 24 October, 11h
    • Venue: Sala Eduard Fontserè, Facultat de Física (UB)

September 2012

  • The EOS Annual Meeting is being held (25-28 September) at Aberdeen (Scotland), where the group is giving two oral presentations within the topical meeting "TOM 1 - Biophotonics: Optical Manipulation and OCT Imaging in Life Sciences and Medicine". We are fortunately not covered in foam... and, even better, Josep Mas has been awarded the EOS prize for the best student presentation (J. Mas, A. Farré, E. Martín-Badosa, and M. Montes-Usategui, "Optical force measurements in living A549 cells"). Congratulations!
  • Some members of our group are attending the X Reunión Nacional de Óptica (Zaragoza, Spain), a Spanish conference that gathers specialists in Optics together.
At the conference, the manuscript "De un nuevo método para la medida de fuerzas con pinzas ópticas a la creación de la spin-off Impetux" (A. Farré, F. Marsà, M. Montes-Usategui) has been awarded with the PI/Micos prize to the best young contribution.
  • E. Martín Badosa is now an editorial board member of Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature publishing group launched in mid 2011.
  • Berta Gumí joins the group to investigate and optimize the accuracy of our fluorescence imaging and tracking system.
  • Prof. Igor Poberaj, from the University of Ljubljana, in Slovenia, will be giving a lecture entitled "APPLICATION OF LASER TWEEZERS IN ACTIVE MICRORHEOLOGY" on Wednesday, September 12th (Room 526, 10h30).

July 2012

  • Last Tuesday (03-07-2012), Arnau Farré brilliantly defended his PhD thesis, entitled "Momentum measurements of single-beam traps and quantitative holographic experiments: two sides of the same coin", before a committee composed by Prof. D. Petrov (ICREA and Institut de Ciències Fotòniques-ICFO), Prof. J. Campos (Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona) and Prof. S. Vallmitjana (Universitat de Barcelona).
Well done Arnau and congratulations Dr. Farré!

June 2012

  • The results of the optical trapping survey are already available at the "Optical trapping park" site. The survey provides information on the optical trapping community, such as the background of the people working in the field or the main applications.

May 2012

  • Our project Impetux has been selected to participate in the program "BioEmprenedor XXI" devoted to the creation of start-ups and organized by "la Caixa", Barcelona Activa, Biocat, Genoma España and "Cambra de Comerç de Barcelona".
April 2012
  • Ferran Marsà is one of the winners of the award "Premi Jordi Porta i Jué" of the Catalan Physics Society (given to the best research works in Physics), for his Master thesis "Highly stable holographic dumbbell combined with accurate force measurements through back-focal-plane interferometry".
February 2012
  • Frederic Català joins the group as an undergraduate student and will be working on the use of holographic traps for precision experiments.
January 2012
  • Our project: "Measurement of optical forces for manipulating samples" has been selected for a valorisation program in collaboration with the prestigious Business School EADA and coordinated by ACC1Ó.
  • Selection procedures for the Europhotonics Master 2012 edition are open (deadline for Master application, EU and non-EU students: 1 February 2012).
  • Josep Mas and Arnau Farré are attending the 1st Flash Talks Meeting (19 January, Faculty of Physics, Barcelona), which is a meeting to gather together all the students doing a PhD in Physics at the UB. They will give the short talks "Optical tweezers in living cells" and "Measuring light forces", respectively.
December 2011
  • The following conference by prof. Kirstine Berg-Sørensen (Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark) will be held this month:
    • TitleOptical traps and quantitative mechanical measurements in living yeast cells
    • Date: Tuesday 13 December 2011, 10.30h
    • Venue: Sala de Graus Eduard Fontserè, Facultat de Física, Universitat de Barcelona
    • Abstract: One of the tools for investigations of mechanical properties of single molecules or single organelles in living cells, or entire cells themselves is optical trapping. Under the right conditions of wavelength and intensity, optical trapping is non-invasive and cells survive in good condition. Quantitative mechanical measurements require knowledge of the force exerted by the optical trap, and precise tools of analysis for e.g. power spectral data.
      We discuss one procedure to extract the characteristics of the optical trap, and apply it in connection with trapping of lipid granules in live S. pombe cells. In addition, we also discuss the implications for the viscoelastic properties of the yeast cell cytoplasm.
November 2011
October 2011
  • The following conference by prof. Jochen Guck (University of Cambridge) will be held next Thursday, 3rd November:
    • Title: Do biological cells care about physics?
    • Date: Thursday 3 November 2011, 10h
    • Venue: Sala de Graus Eduard Fontserè, Facultat de Física, Universitat de Barcelona
    • Abstract: While most current biological research focuses on molecular aspects of cells, we are interested in their global physical – mechanical and optical – properties. The mechanical properties of cells are largely determined by the cytoskeleton, an internal hybrid polymer network. This cytoskeleton evolves during the normal differentiation of cells, is involved in many cellular functions, and is characteristically altered in many diseases, including cancer. We can exploit the deformability of the cytoskeleton as a link between molecular structure and biological function to distinguish between different cells using a microfluidic optical stretcher. We find that optical deformability is sensitive enough to monitor the subtle changes during the progression of cells from normal to cancerous and even metastatic state. We can also distinguish stem cells from more differentiated cells. In both cases, their mechanical properties are tuned to the specific requirements imposed on the cells by physical constraints. Another example for the importance of physics are the optical properties of cells, specifically in the retina. We have recently shown that there are glial cells in the retina that act as optical fibers and that photoreceptor cells even invert their usual nuclear chromatin arrangement to turn them into microlenses. In both cases cells utilize physics in order to improve the light transmission through the retina and help to mitigate the disadvantage of its inverted structure.
September 2011
  • The paper "Positional stability of holographic optical traps" has been accepted for publication in Opt. Express.
  • Congratulations to Ferran Marsà and Dorian Treptow for defending their master thesis projects, "Highly stable holographic dumbbell combined with accurate force measurements through back-focal-plane interferometry" and "Video-based calibration of holographic optical traps", respectively (8 September, Master in Photonics).
August 2011
  • Mario Montes Usategui and Arnau Farré are attending the SPIE conference Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII (San Diego, 21-25 August).
July 2011
  • The following course by prof. Jochen Guck (University of Cambridge) will be held from Monday, 18th July to Thursday, 21st July:
June 2011
  • The review paper "Optical trapping: a review of essential concepts" has been accepted for publication in Opt. Pur. Apl.

May 2011

  • A new patent application has been filed on May 16th: "Method for manipulating microscopic samples and measuring forces acting thereon", application no ES 201130783.
  • Dorian Treptow joins the group as a Master in Photonics thesis student. He will be carrying a project on video-based calibration of holographic optical traps.

April 2011

  • Dr. Tomohiro Shima from the University of Tokyo is giving the lecture "Walking mechanism of cytoplasmic dynein".
February 2011
  • Yan Wang joins the group as a master thesis student, within the Erasmus Mundus master "Molecular nano- and bio-photonics for telecommunications and biotechnologies" (Monabiphot), of l'Ecole normale supérieure de Cachan.

January 2011

  • PostDoc call: we are seeking a candidate for submitting a proposal for a 3-year postdoctoral position, within the program Juan de la Cierva funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation is Spain. Applicants should address a motivation letter and a full résumé, including contact details of two references, to Estela Martín Badosa before 31 January 2011.

December 2010

  • Selection procedures for the Europhotonics Master 2011 edition are open (deadline for Master application, EU and non-EU students: Jan. 24th, 2011.
  • The patent "Method and apparatus for measuring optical forces acting on a particle" (application ES200901259) is now available on line.
  • Ferran Marsà joins the group as a Master in Photonics thesis student. He will be carrying a project on calibration of multiple holographic traps.

  • Mario Montes participates in SECPhO (Southern European Cluster in Photonics and Optics) meeting on Thursday, 2 December, in which some members of the cluster are visiting our installations and are given a demonstration of our current research projects.

November 2010

  • Josep Mas is giving the lecture "Optical tweezers: trapping with light" at the Faculty of Physics on Thursday, 11 November, at 12h. This talk is within the series "Encontres amb el Tercer Cicle", organized by PhD students to bring undergradate students closer to the research being carried out at the Faculty.
  • Xavier Fernández joins the group as an undergraduate student, and will be carrying a project on automatic tracking and trapping of organelles within cells.
  • We have been awarded with a grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation in Spain for the next three years (see Funding section).

October 2010

September 2010

  • Congratulations to Ione Verdeny for defending her master thesis project "Analysis of neuroblastoma NG108 cells after optical tweezers laser exposure" (9 September, Master in Biophysics).
  • The conference to be given by Dr. Jochen Guck (University of Cambridge) on 8 September has been cancelled.
    • Title: Do biological cells care about physics?
    • Abstract: While most current biological research focuses on molecular aspects of cells, we are interested in their global physical – mechanical and optical – properties. The mechanical properties of cells are largely determined by the cytoskeleton, an internal hybrid polymer network. This cytoskeleton evolves during the normal differentiation of cells, is involved in many cellular functions, and is characteristically altered in many diseases, including cancer. We can exploit the deformability of the cytoskeleton as a link between molecular structure and biological function to distinguish between different cells using a microfluidic optical stretcher. We find that optical deformability is sensitive enough to monitor the subtle changes during the progression of cells from normal to cancerous and even metastatic state. We can also distinguish stem cells from more differentiated cells. In both cases, their mechanical properties are tuned to the specific requirements imposed on the cells by physical constraints.
      Another example for the importance of physics are the optical properties of cells, specifically in the retina. We have recently shown that there are glial cells in the retina that act as optical fibers and that photoreceptor cells even invert their usual nuclear chromatin arrangement to turn them into microlenses. In both cases cells utilize physics in order to improve the light transmission through the retina and help to mitigate the disadvantage of its inverted structure.

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

  • The paper "Holographic optical manipulation of motor-driven membranous structures in living NG-108 cells" is accepted in Optical Engineering.
  • "Wavefront correction: Trapping through turbid media" News & Views is published in Nature Photonics.
  • Josep Mas is leaving to spend 4 months at The Optical Tweezers Group of the Niels Bohr Institute (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), working in calibration methods inside living cells.

May 2010

  • The paper "A force detection technique for single-beam optical traps based on direct measurement of light momentum changes" is accepted in Optics Express.

April 2010

  • Arnau Farré and Josep Mas are attending Trends in Optical Micromanipulation II (11-16 April, Obergurgl, Austria). A. Farré is presenting the talk "Optical trapping Lab at the University of Barcelona (BiOPT): recent advances and future work" replacing E. Martín-Badosa.

March 2010

  • A new paper on education in optical trapping is accepted in IEEE Transactions on Education. The project has been carried out in collaboration with the Wavefront Engineering Research Group at the University of Barcelona.

February 2010

  • The group publishes a new paper on stretching dsDNA molecules with holographic optical tweezers in collaboration with Dr. Nancy Forde' lab at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada). The paper will appear in the next issue of Journal of Biophotonics (link to early view)

January 2010

  • Mario Montes-Usategui has joined Dr. Hideo Higuchi's group at the University of Tokyo and will carry out a 6 months project on holographic tweezers.