Optical Tweezers Group
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UCL Optical Tweezers Group



Prof. Phil Jones

Sandrine Heijnen

Kumail Kermalli

Yuhan Wang


Onofrio Marago; NanoSoft Lab, IPCF-CNR, Messina, Sicily

Giovanni Volpe; Soft Matter Lab, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Burcin Unlu; Medical Physics Group, Bogazici University, Istanbul

Eleanor Stride; Biomedical Ultrasonics & Biotherapy Lab, Oxford University

Ferruccio Renzoni; Department of Physics & Astronomy, UCL

NOIs Collaboration; UC Cork, TU Wien, U Innsbruck & Institute of Spectroscopy, Moscow

UCL Ultra-High Resolution Microscopy Collaboration; Jonathan Ashmore, Angus Bain & Guy Moss

Jixiong Pu; Huaqiao University

An experimental research group, based in the Biological Physics (BioP) section of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, UCL.


The UCL Optical Tweezers Group, autumn 2013
(L-R) Chris F, Tom, Chris R, Alessandro

P H Jones, O M Marago & G Volpe

book cover

"...it is quite simply excellent..."
"...a fantastic resource..."

Visit the book website at
for supplementary material

Available from CUP or Amazon from 03 Dec 2015

Optical Biology Phd Programme
Open for applications
30 Oct - 13 Dec 2019
to start PhD in September 2020

Hosted by the Soft Matter Group, U Gothenburg
29 May - 01 June 2018


Welcome to new PhD student Sandrine Heijnen, who has joined the MSC-ETN ActiveMatter to work on a project co-supervised with Giorgio Volpe (UCL Chemistry)

Our paper Strongly focused circularly polarized optical vortex regulated by a fractal conical lens is published as Applied Sciences 10 28 (2020)

Optical trapping and manipulation of nanostructures Nat. Nanotech. 8 807-819 (2013) reaches 450 citations (Scopus)

New Wellcome Trust funded PhD programme in Optical Biology starting in September 2020.   Applications open 30 Oct 19 - 13 Dec 19.

Preprint on bioRxiv H. De Belly et al, Membrane tension mediated mechanotransduction drives fate choice in embryonic stem cells 

Welcome to our new students, Kumail Kermalli and Yuhan Wang

Phil is giving a talk on Optical trapping of deformable material at the QLM Summer School, Southampton; 08 Jul 19

Biological Physics Group retreat at West Dean College, Sussex; 02-03 Jul 19

Phil will be giving a talk on Optical tweezers for soft matter experiments at London Light's Late Light 2019

Optical trapping and manipulation of nanostructures Nat. Nanotech. 8 807-819 (2013) reaches 400 citations (Scopus)

Congratualtions to Nick Tidy for successfully defending his thesis

Jinyao Tang (Univeristy of Hong Kong) is giving the Chemistry Department seminar: Light Powered Artificial Microswimmer - How far from Nanosurgeon?; Tue 05 Mar 18

We have two funded PhD studentships for projects to start in September 2019.  See this announcement for project descriptions and funding eligibility

Applications to the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advaned Characterisation of Materials are now open.  We are offering a project Nanomechanical characterisation of soft materials jointly with Valeria Garbin (Imperial College).  Contact Phil for more details

IPLS seminar by Sabine Hauert (Bristol University) on Swarm engineering across scales; Wed 16 Jan 19

Special issue of  on "Optical Trapping and Manipulation: From Fundamentals to Applications", with guest editor  open for submissions

MSC-ETN ActiveMatter has been awarded.  Watch this space for more news in 2019

PHAS0035 "press conference" on our Scientific Reports paper on red blood cell stretching, Tue 30 Oct 18

Optical trapping and manipulation of nanostructures Nat. Nanotech. 8 807-819 (2013) reaches 350 citations (Scopus)

To celebrate Arthur Ashkin's Nobel Prize you can download three free chapters from our book Optical Tweezers: Principles & Applications.  And if you would like to buy the book a 20% discount is available for a limited time only.

Congratulations to former PhD student Tom Smart for winning the Biological Physics Group Thesis Prize for 2018

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