Optical micromanipulation, microscopy, and spectroscopy techniques have become indispensable in various research areas. Currently, they play an important role in life sciences or chemical/biological analyses and they have also proved instrumental in colloidal and surface physics. With the use of these optical methods, it is possible, for example, to study composition, structure, and function of individual living cells and biomolecules, investigate dynamics of transport in viscoelastic fluids, or quantitatively characterize interactions between colloidal particles and interfaces.
The main focus of this presentation includes several experimental studies of micron-scale physical and chemical properties of complex specimens; the exploitation of a combination of multiple optical modalities represents the common denominator of these studies. In particular, the following three topics will receive mention: Raman-spectroscopic and microrheologic investigation of molecular diffusion in polymer blends, Raman-spectroscopic analysis of molecular composition of optically trapped living algal cells, and characterization of adhesive strength between chemically functionalized colloidal particles and solid substrates. In all these studies, light serves as a non-invasive tool for probing material objects and their interactions with the necessary spatial and temporal resolution under relevant environmental conditions. The presented examples illustrate the benefits of using combined optical techniques for quantitative experimental analysis of the structure and dynamics of complex material systems.
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