NASA-Langley Research Center Purchases NanoManipulator System
3rdTech’s First Commercial Installation Will Build Tools for Nondestructive Evaluation
HILL, N.C., June
– 3rdTech Inc., developing products and businesses from leading-edge university research,
today announced the installation of the first commercial NanoManipulator DP-100
Visualization and Control System at NASA Langley Research Center (NASA-LARC).
The NanoManipulator System, along with a ThermoMicroscopes’ Explorer Scanning
Probe Microscope (SPM), will be used to employ nanotechnology in developing
tools for nondestructive evaluation.
NanoManipulator System was originally developed at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill by collaboration between the Departments of Computer
Science and Physics and provides interactive, precise, real-time control of an
SPM. Using the NanoManipulator, a scientist can take control of the SPM’s
probe, move it to precisely the desired location in a sample, and then
interactively manipulate atomic-sized structures. These capabilities enable
explorations and manipulations that are difficult or impossible with traditional
SPM controls. The system has been in development and test for several years at
UNC-CH, and is now available commercially.
nondestructive evaluation (NDE) research group at NASA-LARC will use the
NanoManipulator DP-100 and Explorer SPM to precisely extract, manipulate and
place individual carbon nanotubes. The goal is to create devices employing
carbon nanotubes that can be used to test for structural weaknesses in aircraft
surfaces. “Today engineers use optical microscopes to wire electronic
circuitry”, said Buzz Wincheski, Aerospace Technologist at NASA-LARC.
“We’re using the NanoManipulator to wire circuits ten thousand times
NanoManipulator DP-100 provides a ‘force-feedback’ or haptic display, which
lets the user ‘feel’ the surface of the sample. When the probe on an SPM is
being used for manipulation, it is no longer scanning the surface and the visual
display will be slightly mis-registered due to drift and hysteresis. The haptic
display is not subject to these effects and provides accurate location
information throughout any manipulations. This makes it possible to select and
move a single carbon nanotube. Other features of the NanoManipulator DP-100
include advanced 3D graphics, an automatic lab notebook for complete session
archives, and a PC viewer for viewing session archives on any graphics-enabled
“It’s very gratifying seeing the NanoManipulator System in the hands of new researchers”, said Nick England, President and CEO of 3rdTech, Inc. “We believe its unique capabilities will make it a ‘must have’ in every nanotechnology research center’s toolkit.” Additional information about the NanoManipulator System and research resulting from its use is available at www.3rdtech.com/NanoManipulator.htm.