Tuesday, June 05, 2007

US Patent 7227140 - Focused ion beam nanomanipulator


Zyvex is a company pursuing new approaches to manipulating matter on the nanoscale. While atomic force microscopy and nanotweezers have been used for molecular positioning they are hampered by electrostatic forces that can make it difficult to separate the molecular structures being manipulated for the tool performing the manipulation. This patent teaches a combination of a focused ion beam cutting tool and grasping elements (e.g. MEMS actuators) to regulate the positioning of samples for inspection by electron microscopy. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system, comprising: focused ion beam (FIB) means for at least partially severing a sample from a substrate; a grasping element configured to mechanically capture the sample; means for mechanically activating the grasping element to mechanically capture the sample; and means for separating the captured sample from the substrate.