Optical tweezers: 20 Years on

David McGloin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


In 1986, Arthur Ashkin and colleagues published a seminal paper in Optics Letters, 'Observation of a single-beam gradient force optical trap for dielectric particles' which outlined a technique for trapping micrometre-sized dielectric particles using a focused laser beam, a technology which is now termed optical tweezers. This paper will provide a background in optical manipulation technologies and an overview of the applications of optical tweezers. It contains some recent work on the optical manipulation of aerosols and concludes with a critical discussion of where the future might lead this maturing technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3521-3537
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1849
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2006


  • Aerosols
  • Colloids
  • Light beams
  • Optical manipulation
  • Optical tweezers


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical tweezers: 20 Years on'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this