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High-performance reconstruction of microscopic force fields from Brownian trajectories

Journal article
Authors Laura Pérez García
Jaime Donlucas Pérez
Giorgio Volpe
Alejandro V. Arzola
Giovanni Volpe
Published in Nature Communications
Volume 9
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-...
Subject categories Physical Sciences

Abstract

© 2018, The Author(s). The accurate measurement of microscopic force fields is crucial in many branches of science and technology, from biophotonics and mechanobiology to microscopy and optomechanics. These forces are often probed by analysing their influence on the motion of Brownian particles. Here we introduce a powerful algorithm for microscopic force reconstruction via maximum-likelihood-estimator analysis (FORMA) to retrieve the force field acting on a Brownian particle from the analysis of its displacements. FORMA estimates accurately the conservative and non-conservative components of the force field with important advantages over established techniques, being parameter-free, requiring ten-fold less data and executing orders-of-magnitude faster. We demonstrate FORMA performance using optical tweezers, showing how, outperforming other available techniques, it can identify and characterise stable and unstable equilibrium points in generic force fields. Thanks to its high performance, FORMA can accelerate the development of microscopic and nanoscopic force transducers for physics, biology and engineering.

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