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Manipulating Micro/Nanoscale Matter with Light

Optical tweezers, invented 50 years ago by Arthur Ashkin at Bell Labs and recognized by a Nobel Prize in Physics, is the standard method for manipulating and studying biological cells and molecules in a remote way. We have invented a series of optical manipulation techniques that break existing bottlenecks in optical tweezers and exhibit multiple advantages: enhanced functionality, low optical power, reduced temperature and photodamage, simple optics, easy operation, and compact system. Our manipulation techniques enable new research in cell biology, molecular sensing, colloidal sciences, and micro/nanorobotics. They also provide a breakthrough in digital manufacturing of architected nanomaterials and nanodevices.