Optical Tweezers Group
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UCL Optical Tweezers Group



Prof. Phil Jones

Sandrine Heijnen

Riccardo Tognato

Shiyi (Ed) Chen

David Bronte Ciriza

Anna Jorgensen

Espen Bergqvist

Unik Limbu


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

MSC-ITN ActiveMatter

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

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
  01 Oct - 13 Dec 2021
to start PhD in September 2022

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


Phil will be giving the HOPES webinar for the UK & Ireland Section of the IEEE on 'Biological Applications of Optical Tweezers', Mon 25 Apr 22

Congratulations to Riccardo Tognato for successfully defending his thesis

Our paper 'Assessment of red blood cell deformability in type 2 diabetes mellitus and diabetic retinopathy by dual optical tweezers stretching technique', Scientific Reports 6 15873 (2016) reaches 100 citations (Scopus)

Paper H. Chen et al, 'Influence of slow light effect on trapping force in optical tweezers', Optics Letters 47 710-713 (2022) is published

Congratulations to Riccardo Tognato for submitting his thesis

A warm welcome to David Bronte Ciriza, who is visiting the group as part of the MSC-ITN ActiveMatter.

PhD studentship on collaborative project with Yuval Elani (Imperial) and Guido Bolognesi (U Loughborough) on 'Characterisation of interfacial biological materials' as part of the ACM-CDT. Contact Phil for more details.

Phil is giving a seminar for the SPIE Student Chapter of IISER Kolkata, Wed 08 Dec 21

Welcome to Anna Jorgensen, who has joined the group for a TransPharmTech CDT MRes project, jointly supervised by Dr Dario Carugo (UCL School of Pharmacy)

'Femtonewton Force Sensing with Optically Trapped Nanotubes', Nano Letters 8 3211-3216 (2008) reaches 100 citations (Scopus)

A warm welcome to our new group members: PhD student Shiyi Chen, and MSci students Espen Bergqvist and Unik Limbu

A third volume of the Special Issue of Micromachines devoted to optical trapping is now accepting submissions.  Check out the papers in volume 1 and volume 2

Optical trapping and manipulation of nanostructures Nat. Nanotech. 8 807-819 (2013) reaches 600 citations (Scopus)

The Special Issue of Micromachines Optical Trapping and Manipulation: From Fundamentals to Applications has been reprinted as a freely available online book

Paper H de Belly et al 'Membrane tension gates ERK-mediated regulation of pluripotent cell fate', Cell Stem Cell 28 1-12 (2021) published

Paper G Pesce et al 'Optical tweezers: theory and practice' published in EPJ Plus Focus Issue 'Light Pressure Across All Scales'. Eur. Phys. J. Plus 135 949 (2020)

Brownian motion of graphene ACS Nano 4 7515 (2010) reaches 150 citations (Scopus)

Welcome to our new project students Shiyi Chen and Haozhe Shen

Progress meeting of the MSC-ITN ActiveMatter to take place Thu 10 Sep

A short article on Optical Tweezers is published in Revista Universitaria (Mexico).  Thanks to Dr Eric Rosas for the translation!

On Thu 3rd Sep Phil will be giving a talk at Photon 2020 on 'Optical Binding in Two and
Three Dimensions

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