Marangoni Optofluidic Tweezers (MOT)

Case ID:

There is currently a great deal of interest in using small droplets as containers for chemical reactions.  Optical methods for droplet manipulation are attractive because they offer control without an on chip structure; however forces from optical tweezers tend to be in the pN range.  

Wayne State University researchers have developed a new method to trap liquid droplets using light.  Laser light is focused on the surface of a drop using a lens.  The light is a strong enough intensity to heat up the surface of the liquid droplet, generating thermocapillary flow which aligns the droplet with the laser.  This technique can be used to translate droplets in 2 or 3 dimensions in order to merge and mix droplets, resonate a droplet, and to concentrate particles inside the droplet.   OFT is 1 Million times stronger than traditional optical tweezers and has potential applications in chemistry, biology, medical diagnostics, and various applications where there is a need to manipulate small amounts of liquid.  

Commercial Applications:

·         Using small droplets as containers for chemical reactions

·         Biological and medical diagnostics

·         Various industrial applications where there is a need to manipulate small amount of liquid

Technological Advantage:

·         OFT technology is 1,000,000 X strong than traditional optical tweezers, enabling the manipulation of a wide range of droplet sizes.

·         Compared to other published research in theromocapillary flow, OFT is a unique mechanism which traps droplets instead of repelling them

Patent Status:

Patent pending
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Nicole Grynaviski
Commercialization Principal
Wayne State University
Amar Basu
Gopakumar Kamalakshakurup