Jerome Fung

Assistant Professor; Soft Condensed Matter, Optics


(607) 274-3984
263 Center for Natural Sciences
Ithaca, NY 14850

file-outline Curriculum Vitae - cv_jfung.pdf (73.46 KB)

Optical Trapping Laboratory

Discover more about Jerome's research in soft condensed matter and optics! 


Below is a list of courses that I am teaching or have taught at Ithaca College. All course materials are maintained on Sakai. Please contact me if you have any questions about these courses.

Fall 2019

  • PHYS 117: Principles of Physics I - Mechanics
  • PHYS 280: Learning Assistant Practicum in Physics (co-taught with Prof. Colleen Countryman)

Spring 2019

  • PHYS 218: Principles of Physics IV - Modern Physics

Fall 2018

  • PHYS 117: Principles of Physics I - Mechanics
  • PHYS 470: Selected Topics in Advanced Physics (Introduction to Soft Condensed Matter)


Research in my laboratory focuses on manipulating particles in colloidal suspensions using light. Colloidal suspensions, such as paint, consist of small particles (typically, at least 10 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair!) suspended in a fluid. The particles are large enough, however, to interact strongly with light and can often be seen under a microscope. The ability to image and manipulate particles in colloidal suspensions makes them excellent model systems for studying complex phenomena such as how crystals melt or how cell membranes self-assemble. We study how colloidal particles can be manipulated with light by combining experiments and computational modeling.

Experiments: manipulating non-spherical particles using optical tweezers

Optical tweezers use a focused laser beam to exert and measure forces on colloidal particles -- like tractor beams in science fiction movies, albeit on a microscopic scale. Optical tweezers can be used to measure the forces exerted by biological molecules, assemble objects at the nanoscale, and study how colloidal particles interact with each other.

Trapping spherical particles is relatively straightforward and well-understood. Understanding how non-spherical particles (such as cylinders or clusters of spheres) behave in optical tweezers is much harder. Under what conditions can such particles be trapped? How will they orient themselves if they are trapped? Can we control how they are oriented?

My students and I are building an optical tweezers microscope to answer these questions. By combining optical tweezers and a three-dimensional imaging technique called holographic microscopy, we will be able to examine in detail how non-spherical particles behave in optical tweezers. We will then explore how generating multiple trapping beams using a technique known as holographic optical tweezers might enable particles such as ellipsoids to be trapped in arbitrary orientations. 

Click this link to view a video of a 1-micrometer-diameter silica sphere held in optical tweezers in the lab!

Computation: modeling optical tweezers and light scattering

In parallel to our experiments, we are using computer models of how small particles interact with light (namely, what is known as a T-matrix approach) to calculate how non-spherical particles behave in optical tweezers. We plan to compare the computational results with our experiments.

We are also developing software that will use advanced data analysis techniques (such as Bayesian inference) to interpret data from light scattering experiments.