The French “nanofactory” has assembled the smallest house in the world

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The French “nanofactory” has assembled the smallest house in the world

The μRobotex system is capable of manufacturing nanoscale parts and assembling rather complex structures from them, such as a house with dimensions of a fraction of a millimeter.

The science
#nanotechnology
#nanophotonics
# scanning electron microscope

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© Wikipedia

French scientists have presented a new system μRobotex – a “nanofactory” for obtaining microscopic structures in a vacuum. To demonstrate its capabilities, Jean-Yves Rauch and colleagues at the Femto-ST institute assembled a microscopic house, connecting parts with nanometer precision. The new technology is described in an article published in Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A

Among the promising areas of nanotechnology development, a prominent place is occupied by solutions that are conventionally called “lab-on-fiber”. Someday they will make it possible to create microscopic systems with photonic sensors and, for example, carry out observations and measurements using the finest, thinner than a hair, optical fibers equipped with nanoscale detectors. So far, developers do not even have reliable and convenient tools to accurately manipulate objects at this scale.

The French μRobotex system can be called the first sign of this “nano-production”. She uses several tools at once. The finely controlled ion flow of a scanning electron microscope “cuts” a thin silicon membrane into parts of the desired shape and size. The already weakened flow with its pressure allows you to move the fragments, fold them in the manner of origami and put them in the right order. Finally, the sample is placed and secured to the tip of the fiber. Everything that happens in the vacuum chamber can be observed with a microscope.

© FEMTO-ST Institute

Demonstrating the power of μRobotex, Rauch and his co-authors assembled and placed the smallest house in history – measuring just 300 x 300 microns. It is noted that some of the stages of the system have already been automated, although so far it requires constant attention from engineers. At the next stage, the scientists plan to increase the automation of the process, and increase the accuracy of μRobotex by several times.

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The science
#nanotechnology
#nanophotonics
# scanning electron microscope

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