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All Optical Manipulation of Photonic Metasurfaces for Biophotonic Applications in Microfluidic Environments

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AMPHIBIANS (All Optical Manipulation of Photonic Metasurfaces for Biophotonic Applications in Microfluidic Environments)

Reporting period: 2020-08-01 to 2022-01-31

The main aim of the project is the development of an experimental platform for Biophotonics applications in Microfluidics environments. The platform is based on optically trapped metasurfaces (nano-textured membranes).
These membranes offer an intrinsic mechanical stability superior to standard optical manipulation assays and additionally can host a tailored photonics response.
The project has the broad objectives to validate the platform and demonstrate applications in imaging, DNA and cell biology.
The initial period of the project has been devoted to the design and installation of the experimental setup, based on an holographic trapping scheme, which allow to create a large number of trapping laser spots.
In parallel, the team has developed the technology to fabricate conformable and large area metasurfaces. These results have established the fabrication platform for the photonic membranes and demonstrate that it is possible to exploit the flexibility of the support to encode/extract information on the topology of the substrate that they are attached to.
A further work has addressed a fundamental properties of imaging using coherent light, in particular extending the notion of memory effect to the nonlinear case. This work will underpin the study on the response of biological object to intense light.

At the end of the first period, we have also demonstrated the key feature of the platform, showing that trapped metasurfaces are intrinsically stable. A paper has been prepared to summarise the results.
The published results strengthen our understand of the physics and potential applications of flexible photonic metasurfaces and address fundamental properties of imaging applications.
With the validation of the full platform, including the demonstration of viable stable photonic metasurface "handles", the team will start addressing systematically open biological questions in DNA and cell biology, following the program detailed in the grant proposal.