Nanomanipulation & Sensing... Untethered

Mini robots invade US nanospace

Story content courtesy of Imina Technologies, CH

What is the size of a gambling die, zips around a microscope stage at 2mm/s but can stop on a dime with nanometer precision, then manipulate and probe anything from biological cells to semiconductors, MEMs or LEDs? They are the new “miBots” from Imina Technologies, CH.

Unlike conventional systems, miBots are virtually untethered and move independently. Working individually or in groups, they can be fitted with a variety of 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’ proprietary monolithic structure makes them robust, mechanically and thermally stable, and less sensitive to vibration.

Driven by piezo actuators, miBots scoot around the microscope stage, pivot, and lift their tools up and down, all at the touch of a joystick or easy-to-use graphical interface. These intuitive human interfaces make miBots easy to set up and easy to learn, reducing time and eliminating the risk of sample damage. Their independent X, Y, and Z controls deliver the delicate positioning especially important in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) where limited depth of focus makes maneuvering a challenge.

Imina Technologies is a privately held company founded in 2009 to exploit more than ten years of research in high precision robotics conducted at the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL).

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