David W.M. Marr
The controlled assembly of colloidal particles has received significant attention in recent years because of their potential application as nano- and micro-structured materials. To vary their structure and behavior, we employ external fields, including applied time-varying electromagnetic, electric, and magnetic fields. One technique that we use to great extent is optical trapping in which a “tractor beam” like approach, using a focused laser, is used to manipulate individual cells and colloidal particles. Funded in recent years by the NIH, NSF and NASA for microfluidic applications, our goal is the creation of technologically-relevant platforms including micron-scale colloidal-based devices as well as optical-based cell sorters and stretchers for bioanalysis and biomedical assay development.