[Editor’s note: The science inspired by optical tweezers has proved so rich that any reference list will be woefully incomplete. Here, we list some interesting reviews in OPN and elsewhere; a few of the early landmark papers; some highlights of their application, particularly in biophysics, in the first quarter-century after Ashkin’s pioneering 1970 study; and a small selection of some interesting work driven by optical tweezers that has appeared in the past several years.]

Some reviews and feature articles

H. Zhang and K.K. Liu. “Optical tweezers for single cells,” J. Roy. Soc. Interface 5, 671 (2008).

D. McGloin and J.P. Reid. “Forty years of optical manipulation,” Opt. Photon. News 21(3), 20 (March 2010).

T.T. Perkins. “Ångström-precision optical traps and applications,” Annu. Rev. Biophys. 43, 279 (2014).

I.A. Favre-Bulle et al. “Optical tweezers bring micromachines to biology,” Opt. Photon. News 29(4), 40 (April 2018).

The pioneering papers

A. Ashkin. “Acceleration and trapping of particles by radiation pressure,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 24, 156 (1970).

A. Ashkin and J.M. Dziedzic. “Optical levitation by radiation pressure,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 19, 283 (1971).

A. Ashkin et al. “Observation of a single-beam gradient force optical trap for dielectric particles,” Opt. Lett. 11, 288 (1986).

Trapping atoms, bacteria and cells

A. Ashkin, “Trapping of atoms by resonance radiation pressure,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 40, 729 (1978).

S. Chu et al. “Experimental observation of optically trapped atoms,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 57, 314 (1986).

A. Ashkin and J.M. Dziedzic. “Optical trapping and manipulation of viruses and bacteria,” Science 235, 1517 (1987).

A. Ashkin et al. “Optical trapping and manipulation of single cells using infrared laser beams,” Nature 330, 769 (1987).

A. Ashkin and J.M. Dziedzic. “Internal cell manipulation using infrared laser traps,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86, 7914 (1989).

S.M. Block et al. “Compliance of bacterial flagella measured with optical tweezers,” Nature 338, 514 (1989).

S.B. Smith et al. “Direct mechanical measurements of the elasticity of single DNA molecules by using magnetic beads,” Science 258, 1122 (1992).

K. Svoboda et al. “Direct observation of kinesin stepping by optical trapping interferometry,” Nature 365, 721 (1993).

T.T. Perkins et al. “Relaxation of a single DNA molecule observed by optical microscopy,” Science 264, 822 (1994).

M.D. Wang et al. “Stretching DNA with optical tweezers,” Biophys. J. 72, 1335 (1997).

A small sample of intriguing recent work

A.J. Crick et al. “Quantitation of malaria parasite-erythrocyte cell-cell interactions using optical tweezers,” Biophys. J. 107, 846 (2014).

P.A. Quinto-Su. “A microscopic steam engine implemented in an optical tweezer,” Nat. Commun. 5, 5889 (2014).

R. Diekmann et al. “Nanoscopy of bacterial cells immobilized by holographic optical tweezers,” Nat. Commun. 7, 13711 (2016).

I.A. Favre-Bulle et al. “Optical trapping of otoliths drives vestibular behaviours in larval zebrafish,” Nat. Commun. 8, 630 (2017).

M. Ivanov et al. “Optical manipulation for studies of collisional dynamics of micron-sized droplets under gravity,” Opt. Express 25, 2 (2017).

C. Ti et al. “Objective-lens-free fiber-based position detection with nanometer resolution in a fiber optical trapping system,” Sci. Reports 7, 13168 (2017).

S. Zhang et al. “Manufacturing with light—micro-assembly of opto-electronic microstructures,” Opt. Express 25, 28838 (2017).

S. Zhang et al. “Ultrasensitive rotating photonic probes for complex biological systems,” Optica 4, 1103 (2017).

Y. Zhao et al. “Nanoscopic control and quantification of enantioselective optical forces,” Nat. Nanotech. 12, 1055 (2017).

Y. Arita et al. “Optical binding of two cooled micro-gyroscopes levitated in vacuum,” Optica 8, 910 (2018).

Guido Bolognesi et al. “Sculpting and fusing biomimetic vesicle networks using optical tweezers,” Nat. Commun. 9, 1882 (2018).

L. Lin et al. “Opto-thermoelectric nanotweezers,” Nat. Photon. 12, 195 (2018).

L.R. Liu et al. “Building one molecule from a reservoir of two atoms,” Science 360, 900 (2018).

J. Ahn et al. “Optically levitated nanodumbbell torsion balance and GHz nanomechanical rotor,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 033603 (2018).

R. Riemann et al. “GHz rotation of an optically trapped nanoparticle in vacuum,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 033602 (2018).

F. Schmidt et al. “Microscopic engine powered by critical demixing,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 068004 (2018).

S. Simmert et al. “LED-based interference-reflection microscopy combined with optical tweezers for quantitative three-dimensional microtubule imaging,” Opt. Express 26, 14499 (2018).