Tuesday, November 20, 2007

US Patent 7297946 - Automated nanoassembly


Tools for nanomanipulation have been developed since the late 1980's and 1990's by researchers at IBM working with scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopes. More recently companies such as Daiken Chemical and Zyvex have made proposals for alternative systems using nanotweezers and other scanning probe tools. This patent from researchers at Michigan State University proposes an automated system of nanoassembly starting from a random distribution of nanostructures and which takes advantage of computer aided design (CAD) techniques. Claim 1 reads:

1. An automated nanomanipulation system for manufacturing a nanoscale structure, comprising: a design model for a nanoscale structure comprised of two or more nanoobjects; image data of a sample surface upon which the nanoscale structure is to be manufactured, the sample surface having a plurality of randomly distributed nanoobjects from which the nanoscale structure is formed; a movable member configured to perform a nanomanipulation operation on the sample surface; a path planning subsystem adapted to receive the design model and the image data and operable to generate path data is indicative of a path for traversing the movable member along the sample surface such that the movable member manipulates one or more randomly distributed nanoobjects in accordance with the design model, and the path data.