Processing Material in Electron Microscopes

Nanomanipulation with Several D.O.F.


Fig.1: Destruction of ink bubbles on carbon copy paper

Fig. 2: Chipping wood

Fig.3: The hook

Fig. 4: Another example of a hook

Fig. 5: A knife

Fig. 6: Removing dust from a chip

Working material in several dimensions in an electron microscope becomes possible

The Nanomanipulator from Klocke Nanotechnik extends the electron microscope from an analytical instrument to a material processing system. Through the compact construction of the manipulator a vacuum compatible tool can be inserted into the small space between electron source and sample. No larger than a film cartridge, even several manipulators fit into the vacuum chamber. The manipulator can be moved half a cubic centimeter with a resolution of a millionth of a millimeter. The manipulator may contain various micro tools for cutting, scraping, gripping, spark erosion and for laser ablation.

(This Article was the first choice for the brochure “The Best of TPI, (Technical Press Information) Product News of the HANNOVER FAIR 1999”.)

The Nanomanipulator described in the upper article was sold as OEM-Product by   LEO Elektronenmikroskopie already in 1998.

This Nanomanipulator was our first manipulator, several years before in-SEM manipulation came popular. From our customers we learned that such tilting manipulators are quite difficult to handle: the directions of movement are always mixed. Therefore we developed Cartesian systems with position sensors for automation, see: Nanorobotics Manipulators for the principle and in particular: in-SEM/FIB Nanorobotics Manipulators.

The pictures 1 - 6 show animations of different actions made with these tools. The pictures were made by a customer, IPF Dresden, Dr. H.-G.Braun

Needle or Cannula:
In Fig. 1 a 5 micron small ink bubble on carbon copy paper is touched with the needle, pierced and then destroyed. The ink is not visible because it evaporates in vacuum immediately. This activity is made on a medium coarse scale. The Nanomanipulator has a resolution of about 1 nm without backlash. Equipped with a patch clamp cannula this manipulator is about 100 times smaller in volume and about 1000 times more precise than conventional manipulators.

Axe or crowbar to chip material:
The short scene in Fig. 2 shows how the tip scratches into wood and lifts a piece out of it. It is an example similar to problems common in pharmaceutical development: detaching small pieces of frozen human skin. Force is not a problem, the same manipulator is able to make tip imprints into diamonds.
Another question was, if 300 nm small palladium spheres coated onto a thick copper film were rigidly joined with the copper film. It was possible to push against the palladium spheres with the tip of the Nanomanipulator. The palladium spheres could only be lifted up together with the thick copper film. This quick and easy experiment proved that the palladium spheres are more tightly bound with the copper film than the copper film with the substrate. The customer could not find this answer by any other technology.

The Hook (Fig.3 & 4):
More complex is the movement of a hook to move behind something, grab it and pull it away - or just destroy it as in this example.

A Knife (Fig. 5):
Cutting material is another important manipulation. This movie shows the flexibility of that tool.

A Cleaner (Fig. 6):
You can take away dust from a chip...


Our Nanomanipulators allow to process material in several dimensions in Electron Microscopes.
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