What if you could reach through a microscope to touch and feel the microscopic structures under the lens? In a breakthrough that may usher in a new era in the exploration of the worlds that are a million times smaller than human beings, researchers at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have unveiled a new technique that allows microscope users to manipulate samples using a technology known as "haptic optical tweezers."
Conceptual representation of a highly nimble micromanipulation experimental setup. Cells can be explored with advanced laser trapped microtools that extend the operator's sense of touch thanks to a specifically designed haptic teleoperated optical tweezers.
Featured in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, which is produced by AIP Publishing, the new technique allows users to explore the microworld by sensing and exerting piconewton-scale forces with trapped microspheres with the haptic optical tweezers, allowing improved dexterity of micromanipulation and micro-assembly.
"The initial results obtained are promising and demonstrate that optical tweezers have a significant potential for haptic exploration of the microworld," said Cecile Pacoret, a co-author of the study. "Haptic optical tweezers will become an invaluable tool for force feedback micromanipulation of biological samples and nano- and microassembly parts."
One of the challenges in developing this technique was to sense and magnify piconewton-scale forces enough to enable human operators to perceive interactions that they have never experienced before, such as adhesion phenomena, extremely low inertia, and high frequency dynamics of extremely small objects, like the Brownian motion. The design of optical tweezers for high quality touch-based feedback is challenging, given the requirements for very high sensitivity and dynamic stability.
This research required a mix of different experimental techniques and theoretical knowledge. Labs at the Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique possessed expertise in both microrobotics and in haptics which were needed but the research team, as the project progressed, realized that they needed additional expertise in optics and vision, which was available at the university. "This project would not have been possible without this multidisciplinary environment and additional collaboration of the international optical tweezers community," states Dr. Pacoret. "The high level of interdisciplinary cooperation is what made this project unique, and contributed to its success."
The ability to use touch as a tool to allow exploration, diagnosis and assembly of widespread types of elements from sensors, microsystems to biomedical elements, including cells, bacteria, viruses, and proteins is a real advance for laboratories. These objects are fragile, and their dimensions make them difficult to see under microscope. If this tool can restore the sense of touch under microscopic operation, it will help not only efficiency but also expand scientific creativity, said Dr. Pacoret, adding that she and her team are excited about the possibilities.
"This tool will offer a new degree of freedom and accessibility to researchers, providing, for example, new versatility for the study and micromanipulation of cells," she said.
The article, "A review of haptic optical tweezers for an interactive microworld exploration" by Cécile Pacoret and Stéphane Régnier appears in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments. See: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4818912ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Jason Socrates Bardi | Newswise
Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney
Airborne thermometer to measure Arctic temperatures
11.01.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering