Optical trapping laboratory

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
What the facility does

Characterization of biopolymers and soft materials

Areas of expertise

The optical trapping laboratory specializes in the mechanical characterization of individual molecules and microscale materials. Expertise ranges from single-molecule measurements to microrheology. The laboratory houses state-of-the-art instrumentation, including a centrifuge force microscope and optical trapping instruments, one a dynamic holographic optical tweezers instrument useful for characterizing soft materials (such as gels and matrices) that exhibit 2- and 3-dimensional microscale heterogeneity.  In characterizing the growth of materials, our expertise includes monitoring the development of viscoelastic heterogeneity at high bandwidth (>1 kHz) over time scales from seconds to hours. The comprehensive wet lab neighbouring the optical tweezers instrumentation means that we can prepare and characterize biological and chemical samples in-house.

Research services

Mechanical characterization of soft materials at the single-molecule and microscale levels.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Clean technology
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
Specialized lab Equipment Function
Optical trapping laboratory Dynamic holographic optical tweezers Soft materials microrheology; monitoring spatially resolved development of viscoelasticity at the microscale
  Optical tweezers Single-molecule characterization, microrheology
High-throughput single-molecule manipulation laboratory Centrifuge force microscope Force-dependent enzymatic cleavage, ligand-receptor interactions
Molecular biology laboratory Cell culture facilities  
  Microscopy facilities  
  Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC)  
  UV-Vis Spectrophotometer  
  Fluorescence Plate Reader  
  Gel electrophoresis and blotting  
  Close access to many other characterization facilities  
Title URL
Video showcasing our CFI-funded infrastructure-The age-old collagen question – Nancy Forde, SFU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiZIteAWlcI