Robot-Based Nanohandling and Automation on the Nanoscale

Sergej Fatikow
Sergej Fatikow
University of Oldenburg, Germany
December 6, 2012, 14:30 ~ 15:10

Abstract :

“What I want to talk about is the problem of manipulating and controlling things on a small scale” stated Richard P. Feynman at the beginning of his visionary talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, given on December 29th 1959 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology. Today, half a century after this first insight into unlimited opportunities on the nanoscale, we still have to talk about the same issue. The problem identified by Feynmann turned out to be a very difficult one because of a lack of understanding of the underlying phenomena of the nanoworld and because of a lack of suitable nanohandling methods. The talk by Prof. Sergej Fatikow addresses the latter issue. The automated handling of micro- and nanoscale objects is an important current trend in robotics. It is often referred to as nanohandling and is primarily understood as manipulation of objects, which may include their finding, grasping, moving, tracking, releasing, positioning, pushing, pulling, cutting, bending, twisting, etc. Additionally, many other technologies requir-ing tool/probe positioning with an accuracy in the nanometer range are also regarded as nano-handling, e.g. material nanocharacterization methods like indentation or scratching; mechanical or electrical measurements on nanoscale objects; nanostructuring of surfaces by deposition or removal of materials, and others. Automated nanohandling is one of the key challenges of microsystem technology and nanotechnology. It will enable high-throughput manufacturing of novel NEMS and open up new application fields. Current research activities in AMiR include, amongst others, the development of new nano-handling robots; the investigation of novel automated nanohandling strategies; the develop-ment of advanced control methods; as well as the investigation of suitable real-time sensing technologies on the nanoscale. In his talk, Prof. Fatikow introduces main approaches for handling objects on the nanoscale. He especially addresses his current workof an automated robot-based nanohandling station inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The latter serves as a powerful vision sensor and a work space for nanohandling robots integrated into the vacuum chamber and equipped with application-specific tools. Different research aspects of this work regarding the implementation of the main system components– the piezo-driven nanohandling robots,the control system, the vision-feedback approaches, and the force/tactile sensors – are discussed. Finally, current research projects and applications being pursued in AMiR are outlined. They include automated nanoassembly of AFM supertips inside SEM, handling and characterization of carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes, electron beam induced deposition as a bonding and nanostructuring technology, automation issues in AFM-based nanohandling, characterization of biological objects by AFM/nanorobots, and others.


Research Area :



Honors and Awards :

  • Best Paper awards IEEE Int. Conference on Mechatronics and Automation, 2011
  • Best Paper awards IEEE Int. Conference on Automation Science and Engineering, 2010
  • Koh Young Best Paper award Int. Journal of Optomechatronics (Taylor & Francis, USA), 2007


Professional Career(highlight) :

  • Head Div. Microrobotics & Control Eng, Dept Comp Sc, U Oldenburg
  • Head Tech. Cluster Automated Nanohandling, Research Center OFFIS, Germany
  • Founding Chair of Int. Conference 3M-NANO
  • Honorary professor at several universities in the world including Zhejiang University.