CAREER: Ultrasensitive optical spectroscopy at a single particle level

Project: Research project

Project Details





Intellectual Merit:

This CAREER program is focused on the development of a new single-particle optical spectroscopy technology using white light supercontinuum optical tweezers. The proposed supercontinuum tweezers can not only trap a particle but also perform broadband optical scattering/absorption and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy on the trapped particle, taking advantage of the broad bandwidth of the supercontinuum. Both the physical and chemical features (e.g., size, refractive index, chemical composition) of the trapped particle can therefore be probed in situ. Over the next five years, the PIs research will be focused on the following three tasks: 1) systematically investigate the properties of supercontinuum trap and calibrate the force; 2) investigate broadband optical scattering spectroscopy of a single trapped particle; and 3) investigate broadband coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy of a single trapped particle.

Broader Impact:

The proposed research can potentially result in major advancement of the current single-particle spectroscopy and optical tweezers technologies, and is expected to have significant impact on many areas ranging from engineering and materials science to biology and biomedicine. In addition, this CAREER program will provide a great opportunity to expose students to the broad spectrum of optics and to train them through the proposed research which includes calibrating the force of supercontinuum tweezers, developing experimental techniques and systems for single particle spectroscopy, and developing simulation tools to analyze the measured spectra. Efforts will be made to foster woman and minority students to participate in the research. Education opportunities will also be provided for high school teachers and K-12 students.

Effective start/end date5/1/064/30/12


  • National Science Foundation: $400,000.00


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