The light patterns were generated by a diode-pumped, solid-state 473 nm laser and a liquid-crystal spatial light modulator (HEO 6001-SC-II, Holoeye Photonics AG, Berlin-Adlershof, Germany). The pattern on the spatial light modulator was projected onto the focal plane of a , 0.3 numerical aperture objective (UIS2 UPlanFLN, Olympus Corp., Tokyo, Japan) through the Koehler illumination port of an inverted microscope (IX70, Olympus), as shown in Fig. 1. The microscope was equipped with differential interference contrast (DIC) components. We placed a plano-convex lens () nearly 80 cm in front of the Koehler illumination port to adjust the position of the projected optical patterns along the optical axis. On the focal plane of the objective, the width of the light patterns was typically set to 50 to 100 μm, and the Michelson contrast of the projected optical pattern was 93%. The cell culture patterns were observed with the DIC imaging modality. The DIC images were recorded by a 12-bit CCD camera (Pixelfly qe, PCO AG, Kelheim, Germany) with 0.3-s exposure time. The laser light was stopped by a mechanical shutter while we captured the images of the cells. The image acquisition process was fully automated by using a LabVIEW™ program.