Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

To Touch the Microcosmos

18.09.2013
New Haptic Microscope Technique Allows Researchers to "Feel" Microworld

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."


Pacore/UPMC

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/10.1063/1.4818912

ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Review of Scientific Instruments publishes original research and review articles on instruments in physics, chemistry, and the life sciences. The journal also includes sections on new instruments and new materials. See: http://rsi.aip.org

Jason Socrates Bardi | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>