Student Reports

Optical tweezers at ICFO

Dancing Egg

Optical tweezers use the idea similar to l'ou com balla. It consists in placing an egg in a fountain filled with water. When the egg goes over the fountain spout, the latter lifts the egg up and makes it roll over. That's why it's called “the dancing egg.” It's a playful show celebrated the vigil and the Corpus day, principally in the cloister of Barcelona Cathedral, as well as in other catalan public courtyards. The tradition is dated back to 1440.

Consisteix a col·locar un ou dins una pica d'un sortidor, amb aigua a l'interior. Quan l'ou va a parar a damunt del raig d'aigua del brollador, aquest l'enlaira i el fa giravoltar; d'aquí que se'n digui “l'ou com balla”. Es tracta d'un espectacle lúdic que se celebra la vigília i el dia de Corpus, principalment, al Claustre de la Catedral de Barcelona, però també a d'altres patis públics de Catalunya. Aquesta tradició de l'ou com balla data del segle XV, concretament, de l'any 1440.

Group Leader
  • Dmitri Petrov
  • Caitriona Creely
    (PhD University Dublin, Ireland), January 2004 – December 2006.
  • Satish Rao
    (PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA), May 20, 2007 - August 20. 2010. Since September 2010 a postDoc at Cardiovascular Cell and Tissue Engineering Cardiovascular Research Center Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA
  • Michal Wojdyla
    (PhD at the Nicholas Copernicus University, Torun, Poland, a postdoc at the Department of Chemistry, University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), September 15, 2010 – September 2012
  • Raúl Rica Alarcón
PHD Students
  • Gajendra P. Singh
    September 2002 – July 2006; since August 2006 a postDoc at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida Atlantic University, Florida, USA; since February 2007, a postDoc at MIT, USA; since 2009 Research Fellow (ARAKNES) at School of Physics & Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, Scotland. PhD Thesis: Raman Microspectroscopy of optically trapped cells .
  • Giovanni Volpe
    September 2004 – October 2008.
  • Sandro Perrone
    September 2006 – May 2009.
  • Saurabh Raj
    PhD Thesis: "Mechanochemical study of single living cells and biomolecules combining optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy" PhD Thesis presentation: "Mechanochemical study of single living cells and biomolecules combining optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy" , Starting date October 2008. Defence> November 5, 2012
  • Monica Marro
    Starting date September 2009.
  • Ignacio Martinez Sanchez
    Starting date September 2009. Master in Photonics Thesis, September 10, 2010 " Biochemical noise in a single DNA molecule studied by optical trapping technique" .
Visiting Researchers
  • Gregory Kozyreff
    (Universite Libre de Bruxellas, Belgium), February 2006 – February 2007.
  • Andrey Fedyanin
    (Moscow University, Russia), April 2007, May 2008, December 2008, June 2009, November 2009, june 2010
  • Filip Beunis
    (University Gent, Belgium - BOF fellow), October 2008.
Visiting PHD Students
  • AnnaChiara De Luca
    October 15, 2006 – November 20, 2006
  • Irina Soboleva
    2006 – December 20, 2006
  • Juan Pablo Staforelli
    February 15 – August 15, 2007
  • Stefan Balint
    September 4, 2007 – April 30, 2008
  • Pål Løvhaugen
    February 4, 2008 – December 2008
  • Alexander Zhdanov
    May 18, 2008 – June 2008, November – December 2008, November 2009.
  • Eugeni Lyubin
    November 2009, June 2010
  • Alice Taubes
    January 2010
Undergraduate Students
  • Sergi Marcadal
  • Nereida Rodriguez
  • Raul Alcaide
  • Asier Elejalde
  • Ana Morales
  • Florian Bluttner
  • Giorgio Volpe
  • Josep Mas
  • Luisa del Carmen Frias Pliego
  • Nicolas Rahuel
  • Monica Marro
  • Ioan Stan
  • David Frigola
  • Mario Tonin
  • Pau Mestres
  • Erwan Negre
  • Stephen Corcuff
  • Simon Tassy
  • Frederic Catala Castro


  • Raman Spectroscopy of Single Living Cells
    • Raman spectroscopy permits us to get time- and spatial resolved information on biochemical and biophysical processes in single living cells.
  • Combining Raman spectroscopy and Photonic Force Microscopy
    • Correlation of forces measurements with structural and chemical information reveals new insights in mechanics of single living cells.
  • Photonic Force Microscope as a Spectrometer
    • We study recoil effects due to the fluorescence or Raman emission when active molecules are proximal to, or adsorbed on the PFM probe.
  • Noise-Assisted Effects in Physics and Biophysics Studied by the Technique of Optical Traps
    • Using optical traps we study the noise assisted phenomena with two sources of noise: a thermal noise and an external correlated noise.
  • Electrophoresis in an optical trap
    • We study electrical states of single living cells and colloids detecting their response on electrical field of different frequencies.