Nano Robotics

 
Micro Pick-and-Place
 

TNI offers tools and techniques to facilitate pick and place of objects of various sizes and shapes. With the LF nanomanipulation system, a single manipulator with a tungsten probe installed can perform simple pick-and-place of objects (see video below). This technique relies on manipulating surface adhesion forces; therefore, repeatability depends upon the adhesion properties of the sample, probe, and substrate. With the microgripper module (patent granted) installed, objects can be efficiently picked and placed (see video). The middle actuating arm within the microgripper is designed to push/bounce objects off on demand, with close to 100% active release success rate.

3D microassembly

3D microassembly

3D microassembly

3D microassembly

Microgripper with active release

Microgripper with active release

Ball adhere to gripping tip

Ball adhere to gripping tip

Activate middle plunger to kick ball

Activate middle plunger to kick ball

Retract plunger

Retract plunger

Release completed

Release completed

University of Toronto

University of Toronto

Pick-place for photonic applications

Pick-place for photonic applications

  • B.K. Chen, Y. Zhang, and Y. Sun, "Active release of microobjects using a MEMS microgripper to overcome adhesion forces," IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (J. of MEMS), Vol. 18, pp. 652-659, 2009.

  • Y. Zhang, B.K. Chen, X.Y. Liu, and Y. Sun, "Autonomous robotic pick-and-place of micro objects,"IEEE. Trans. Robotics, Vol. 26, pp. 200-207, 2010.

 
Nano Pick-and-Place
 

Nanometer sized objects can be manipulated using the same techniques as microscale objects, but it requires higher positioning performance from the manipulators. TNI LF system offers the best nanometer positioning capability with sensor feedback, designed to provide significant saving in time and effort.

100 nm nanosphere

100 nm nanosphere

Push to break initial bond

Push to break initial bond

Nano grasping with gripper

Nano grasping with gripper

Pick-up

Pick-up

Nanosphere adhere to gripping arm

Nanosphere adhere to gripping arm

Kick nanosphere off with plunger

Kick nanosphere off with plunger

  • B.K. Chen, Y. Zhang, D. Perovic, and Y. Sun, "From microgripping to nanogripping," IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS'10), Hong Kong, Jan. 24-28, 2010.

 
 
 
Nanowire Isolation
 

A single nanowire can be isolated from a bundle for mechanical/electrical characterization or device assembly. An example of automated nanowire pick-up is shown in the video below. Manual operation follows the same procedure. Electron beam induced deposition (EBID) is used to “solder” the nanowire onto the nano probe. EBID involves concentrating the electron beam over a small area to create deposition and is available on all SEMs.   

  • X.T. Ye, Y. Zhang, C.H. Ru, J. Luo, S.R. Xie, and Y. Sun, "Automated pick-place of silicon nanowires,"IEEE Trans. Automation Sci. Engineering, Vol. 10, pp. 554-61, 2013.

 
Micro-nano assembly
 

TNI LF nanomanipulation system is suitable for use in micro and nano scale assembly. An example is shown below, where various types of tool tips can be robotically assembled onto a microgripper body for different applications. To disengage the tool tip, simply actuate the middle plunging mechanism to release the tool tip. By matching the size of the tool tip to the size of the object to be manipulated, we have demonstrated the pick-place of spherical particle with diameter ranging from 100 nm to 15 µm. 

Micro "tool box"

Micro "tool box"

Align microgripper to a tool tip

Align microgripper to a tool tip

Mate the parts

Mate the parts

Break the tool tip off

Break the tool tip off

Test graping

Test graping

Perform pick and place

Perform pick and place

Kick the tool tip off when completed

Kick the tool tip off when completed

  • B.K. Chen and Y. Sun, “A MEMS microgripper with changeable gripping tips,” Transducer 2011, June 5-9, Beijing, China,

 
 
MEMS Probing Station inside SEM
 

TNI instruments provide the capabilities of a MEMS probing station, but under SEM imaging, with several orders of magnitude higher imaging magnifications and positioning capability. Electrical signals are applied or measured within the vacuum environment of SEM. Physical interrogation of micro-nano structures is conducted with TNI micro/nano force sensors.

MEMS comb drive

MEMS comb drive

 
 
Automations
 

TNI systems come with ultra-high resolution positioner sensor, which makes automation in the micro and nanometer scale possible. An example of automated pick-and-place of microspheres (10 µm in diameter) and automated nano probing is shown in the video below. More examples can be found in Material Sciences, Life Sciences, and Semiconductor Device Probing sections. 

  • Y. Zhang, B.K. Chen, X.Y. Liu, and Y. Sun, "Autonomous robotic pick-and-place of micro objects,"IEEE. Trans. Robotics, Vol. 26, pp. 200-207, 2010.