Innovative Haptic Instrumental platform for 3D Nanomanipulation – PIANHO
The objective of the Pianho project was the development of a multi sensorial platform for exploring
and intervening in the nano---world that could be adapted to a Synchrotron Radiation beamline.
Since long, X---rays play a fundamental role in a large majority of scientific research, from medicine to
material science, going through biology, physics, chemistry…More recently, the emerging interest in
nanoscience and nanotechnology has prompted the development of specialized installations
dedicated to nanoscience. The ESRF has then concentrated its efforts in this direction developing new
beamlines capable of focusing the beam down to few tens of nm1. X---rays offer many opportunities in
the study of nanostructures but has also some limitations: (1) X---rays have very good chemical
resolution, but lack of grasp on the morphology of a sample; (2) X---rays are powerful, yet they cannot
exert a controlled mechanical stress on a sample; (3) the small dimensions of the nonofocused X---ray
beams make the alignment procedures difficult and the pointing stability uncertain. Conversely,
Atomic Force Microscopes are well suited to follow up and render the morphology of samples and
manipulate and deform them. However, still they lack of a good interactivity with the operator for
performing complex tasks.
Coupling a two nano---prongs prehensile station to multisensorial interface for haptic or automatic
control of tasks in the nano---world.
For attaining a versatile instrument capable of characterizing a sample by AFM imaging and
manipulate it in 3D, we have developed a device based on two independent AFM heads. With this
instrument it is possible then (1) to characterize the morphology of samples on a large scale to pin
down the region of interest; (2) to precisely position the two prongs over the chosen object; (3) to pick---
up, hold and manipulate a micro/nano object in air or in liquid keeping under continuous control the
With the idea of easing the recognition and manipulation actions, the instrument has been linked to a
haptic interface allowing an interactive, manual control. This coupling has allowed the development
of complex tasks (form recognition, manipulation) on a micro/nano scale exploiting the human
dexterity. The nanoenvironments following game rules well different from those governing the
macro---world, a simulation station has been also developed for providing training opportunities.
Finally, more classic automatic task handling has been associated to the control chain of the
instrument for assuring the reproducibility and repeatability of special actions.
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
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