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      Optical Manipulation of Soft Matter

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          Abstract

          Optical manipulation has emerged as a pivotal tool in soft matter research, offering superior applicability, spatiotemporal precision, and manipulation capabilities compared to conventional methods. Here, an overview of the optical mechanisms governing the interaction between light and soft matter materials during manipulation is provided. The distinct characteristics exhibited by various soft matter materials, including liquid crystals, polymers, colloids, amphiphiles, thin liquid films, and biological soft materials are highlighted, and elucidate their fundamental response characteristics to optical manipulation techniques. This knowledge serves as a foundation for designing effective strategies for soft matter manipulation. Moreover, the diverse range of applications and future prospects that arise from the synergistic collaboration between optical manipulation and soft matter materials in emerging fields are explored.

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          Most cited references201

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          Observation of a single-beam gradient force optical trap for dielectric particles

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            Millisecond-timescale, genetically targeted optical control of neural activity.

            Temporally precise, noninvasive control of activity in well-defined neuronal populations is a long-sought goal of systems neuroscience. We adapted for this purpose the naturally occurring algal protein Channelrhodopsin-2, a rapidly gated light-sensitive cation channel, by using lentiviral gene delivery in combination with high-speed optical switching to photostimulate mammalian neurons. We demonstrate reliable, millisecond-timescale control of neuronal spiking, as well as control of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission. This technology allows the use of light to alter neural processing at the level of single spikes and synaptic events, yielding a widely applicable tool for neuroscientists and biomedical engineers.
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              Structured light enables biomimetic swimming and versatile locomotion of photoresponsive soft microrobots.

              Microorganisms move in challenging environments by periodic changes in body shape. In contrast, current artificial microrobots cannot actively deform, exhibiting at best passive bending under external fields. Here, by taking advantage of the wireless, scalable and spatiotemporally selective capabilities that light allows, we show that soft microrobots consisting of photoactive liquid-crystal elastomers can be driven by structured monochromatic light to perform sophisticated biomimetic motions. We realize continuum yet selectively addressable artificial microswimmers that generate travelling-wave motions to self-propel without external forces or torques, as well as microrobots capable of versatile locomotion behaviours on demand. Both theoretical predictions and experimental results confirm that multiple gaits, mimicking either symplectic or antiplectic metachrony of ciliate protozoa, can be achieved with single microswimmers. The principle of using structured light can be extended to other applications that require microscale actuation with sophisticated spatiotemporal coordination for advanced microrobotic technologies.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Small Methods
                Small Methods
                Wiley
                2366-9608
                2366-9608
                January 2024
                October 11 2023
                January 2024
                : 8
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Nanophotonic Manipulation Institute of Nanophotonics Jinan University Guangzhou 511443 China
                [2 ] South China Advanced Institute for Soft Matter Science and Technology School of Emergent Soft Matter South China University of Technology Guangzhou 510640 China
                [3 ] Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Functional and Intelligent Hybrid Materials and Devices South China University of Technology Guangzhou 510640 China
                Article
                10.1002/smtd.202301105
                59d836fc-a997-4891-93fa-3e1c121bad91
                © 2024

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