Manipulator for Precise Interaction with Microscale Objects

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Micromanipulators, devices used to physically interact with samples under a microscope, are expensive and often require complicated piezoelectric systems or hydraulics for precise 3-D positioning of very small objects. These parameters limit the number of users and the availability of this technology, which is increasingly important for biomedical and engineering fields.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a mechanical micromanipulator that allows for precise gripping, positioning, and releasing of microscale objects without external power. This technology utilizes customized, disposable, silicon tweezer heads attached with a specially designed interface to a standard laboratory rotational input-translational output micrometer. Prongs in varying sizes can be used to manipulate different sized micro objects for specific end purposes. For example, the tweezer head can be treated with a biological entity, e.g., virus or DNA, and then brought into surface contact with cells under study, effectively implanting the biological entity within the cells. This micromanipulator operates with purely manual actuation, is simple to assemble and use, and therefore, provides accessible microscale manipulation technology for a wide range of disciplines including traditional engineering, biological engineering, and medicine. The device enables accuracy and sensitivity while eliminating complex and costly motors, amplifiers, and power supplies.

Advantages:
-Provides accuracy and sensitivity for microscale manipulation using only manual actuation
-Cost effective and simple to assemble and use, utilizing standard micrometers
-Requires no external power, wires, amplifiers, or electricity

Potential Applications:
-Imaging
-Microtechnologies
-Nanotechnologies
-Devices
Nov 21, 2012
Utility Patent
United States
8,919,840
Dec 30, 2014

Nov 22, 2011
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)

Aug 7, 2009
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
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Aug 7, 2008
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
1801 Newman Road
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Phone: (765) 588-3475
Fax: (765) 463-3486
Email: otcip@prf.org