Technology Listings

Real-time, Particle-Tracking and Control Software for Electromagnetic Tweezers


Software to control electromagnetic tweezers and to track tethered particles in real-time in 3D.

Key Benefits
  • Electromagnets offer improved temporal response without mechanical vibration.
  • 3D particle tracking utilizing a continuous LUT built from multidimensional spline fits of discrete data improves accuracy and provides precision estimates.
Market Summary

Magnetic tweezers (MT) are devices for applying forces to microscopic-scale systems, such as single molecules of protein or DNA, for biophysical and cell biology studies. This experimental technique has expanded in use and application for the last two decades. Most commonly, 3D tracking for MT has been implemented by establishing lateral (XY) particle positions followed by comparison to a discrete look-up-table (LUT) for optical axis (Z) tracking. However, a more quantitative and robust system for 3D tracking in real-time is needed for biophysical analysis of molecular systems at a single molecule level.

Technical Summary

Emory researchers have developed software to control electromagnets, 3D track particles in real time, and analyze biophysical interactions of molecular systems. It consists of three components: (i) a software interface for the microscope and magnet hardware, for recording particle images, and for performing 3D tracking analysis (ii) an electromagnet including control circuitry, and (iii) an improved 3D tracking routine using continuous LUTs. This system provides more accurate results than the discrete-fit approach routine and includes precision estimates.

Developmental Stage

The software developed is open-source and will soon be available to download online.

Publications: Kovari, D.T. et al. (2019) Optics Express, 27(21), 29875-95.

Patent Information
Tech ID: 19136
Published: 1/14/2020
Research Tools
Micro and Nanotechnology

John Nicosia
Licensing Associate
Emory University

Laura Finzi