Investigating hydrodynamic synchronisation using holographic optical tweezers

Stuart Box, Luke Debono, Nicolas Bruot, Jurij Kotar, Pietro Cicuta, Mervyn Miles, Simon Hanna, David Phillips, Stephen Simpson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Coordinated motion at low Reynolds number is widely observed in biological micro-systems, but the underlying mechanisms are often unclear. A holographic optical tweezers system is used to experimentally study this phenomenon, by employing optical forces to drive a pair of coplanar microspheres in circular orbits with a constant tangential force. In this system synchronisation is caused by hydrodynamic forces arising from the motion of the two spheres. The timescales of their synchronisation from large initial phase differences are explored and found to be dependent on how stiffly the microspheres are confined to their circular orbits. These measured timescales show good agreement with numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
ISBN (Electronic)9781628411911
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI - San Diego, United States
Duration: 17 Aug 201421 Aug 2014


ConferenceOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • holographic
  • Hydrodynamic
  • low Reynolds number
  • optical tweezers
  • rotor
  • synchronisation


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