Using optical tweezers (OT) and a haptic device, microspheres having diameters ranging from 3 to 4 μm (floating in a fluid solution) are manipulated in order to form patterns of coupled optical microresonators by assembling the spheres via chemical binding. For this purpose, biotin-coated microspheres trapped by a laser beam are steered and chemically attached to an immobilized streptavidin-coated sphere (i.e., the anchor sphere) one by one using an xyz piezo scanner controlled by a haptic device. The positions of all spheres in the scene are detected using a CCD camera and a collision-free path for each manipulated sphere is generated using the potential field approach. The forces acting on the manipulated particle due to the viscosity of the fluid and the artificial potential field are scaled and displayed to the user through the haptic device for better guidance and control during steering. In addition, a virtual fixture is implemented such that the desired angle of approach and strength are achieved during the binding phase. Our experimental studies in virtual and real environments with eight human subjects show that haptic feedback significantly improves the user performance by reducing the task completion time, the number of undesired collisions during steering, and the positional errors during binding. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a haptic device is coupled with OTs to guide the user during an optical manipulation task involving steering and assembly of microspheres to construct a coupled microresonator.

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