Integrated multicore fibre devices for optical trapping
Barron, Ashleigh Louise
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The work described in this thesis details the development of a multicore fibre device that can be used to optically trap multiple cells and particles. The optical trapping of multiple cells at close proximity allows for cell-to-cell interactions to be studied. Current methods available for creating arrays of traps are free space optical systems that use diffractive optics, laser scanning techniques or the interference of multiple beams to create the multiple traps. A fully integrated, fibre optic based, multiple particles, optical trapping device could be used in non-optical research facilities such as biological laboratories to aid with their research into cellular processes. In order to create the multiple traps, the distal end of the multicore fibre needs to be modified to induce a lensing effect. The multicore fibre device presented in this thesis was lensed in a fusion splicer; this refracts the outputs from the four cores to a common point in the far field where interference fringes are formed. The initial investigation demonstrated one-dimensional interferometric optical trapping through coupling light into two of the diagonal cores of the lensed multicore fibre. This produced linear interference fringes approximately 250 ± 25 μm from the end of the fibre with a fringe spacing of 2 ± 0.3 μm. The linear interference fringes were used to optically trap polystyrene microspheres with diameters of 1.3 μm, 2 μm and 3 μm in the high intensity regions of the fringes. Coupling into all four cores using a diffractive optical element produced an array of intensity peaks across the interference pattern with high visibility fringes greater than 80 %. Each intensity peak, spaced 2.75 μm apart could trap a single particle in two dimensions. The optical trapping of multiple microspheres and Escherichia coli bacterial cells was demonstrated proving that the lensed multicore fibre has the potential to be used to trap cells in biological experiments. The active manipulation of trapped 2 μm microspheres was also demonstrated through the rotation of the input polarisation to the multicore fibre. Finally, work towards creating a “turn-key” optical trapping device was demonstrated through the fabrication of a fully integrated multicore fibre device using an ultrafast laser-inscribed fan-out to couple light into each core. Single mode operation of the device was demonstrated at 1550 nm, using a weaker lensed MCF device. The two dimensional trapping of 4.5 μm polystyrene microspheres was shown in an array of peaks spaced 11.2 μm apart at a distance of 400 ± 25 μm from the end of the fibre.