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Mini robots invade U.S. nanospace

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:10am

miBotImina Technologies' miBots are gambling die-sized nanomanipulators which, unlike conventional systems, are virtually untethered and move independently. These miniature robots can travel around a microscope stage at 2 mm/sec and stop instantly, then manipulate and probe samples from biological cells to semiconductors.

Working individually or in groups, miBots can be fitted with tools such as grippers, probes, and optical fibers so that, in addition to manipulating the sample, they can illuminate a nano workspace and conduct force or electrical measurements. Vacuum ready, miBots' monolithic structure makes them mechanically and thermally stable and less sensitive to vibration.

Driven by piezo actuators, the nanomanipulators travel around the microscope stage, pivot, and lift their tools up and down at the touch of a joystick or a graphical interface. Their independent x, y, and z controls deliver delicate positioning that is important in scanning electron microscopy (SEM). MiBots can also be programmed to do repetitive tasks using scripting languages like MATLAB.

A variety of stage options are available for miBots. For installation on inverted light microscopes (LM), SEMS, or focused-ion beam systems (FIBs), the miBase provides control and maneuvering room for up to four miBots. For installation in smaller SEMS, the miCube and multiCube provide bases for one or four miBots, respectively, while for large samples, such as semiconductor wafers, the DY-13-OL platform can be used.

Imina Technologies, www.imina.ch

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