050122: Pneumatic Nano-Probe Tip for Nano-Manipulation and Manufacturing

A major problem with nano-manipulation is holding the target. Due to the lack of micro force/flow feedback, the target is often destroyed during its manipulation. It would be highly desirable to have a means for picking up and releasing nano-objects without the above difficulties.


The current invention addresses current operational problems with nanomanipulation by coupling a micropump to provide a vacuum or overpressure to a tiny latex tube. A partial vacuum at the tip can hold the object to be manipulated, and an overpressure releases a previously held object, or emits a droplet in manufacturing processes where this is needed. A chamber with a Polyvinylidene flouride (PVDF) force sensing film is placed between the micro-pump and micro latex tube. The PVDF film flexes when the internal pressure changes, providing a means of sensing and controlling the overpressure or partial vacuum being conveyed to the latex tube (and its end tip).


  • Improved nano-manipulation: More precise and rapid manipulation of objects with reduced object damage.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The invention is simple, economical and reliable.
  • Versatility: The technology has numerous potential applications in nano-manufacturing and manipulation and analysis of bio-objects.


Microelectromechanical (MEMS) assembly, bio-manipulation, micro/nano manufacturing, drug delivery, geological/chemical analysis, micro dispensing, medical diagnostics and micro/nano cleaning/wash operations.

IP Protection Status

Patent Pending
Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond DeVito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University - Test