We present design and optimization of an optofluidic monolithic chip, able to provide optical trapping and controlled stretching of single cells. The chip is fabricated in a fused silica glass substrate by femtosecond laser micromachining, which can produce both optical waveguides and microfluidic channels with great accuracy. Versatility and three-dimensional capabilities of this fabrication technology provide the possibility to fabricate circular cross-section channels with enlarged access holes for an easy connection with an external fluidic circuit. Moreover, a new fabrication procedure adopted allows the demonstration of microchannels with a square cross-section, thus guaranteeing an improved quality of the trapped cell images. Optical trapping and stretching of single red blood cells are demonstrated, thus proving the effectiveness of the proposed device as a monolithic optical stretcher. We believe that femtosecond laser micromachining represents a promising technique for the development of multifunctional integrated biophotonic devices that can be easily coupled to a microscope platform, thus enabling a complete characterization of the cells under test.
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