Vacuum Tool for Handling Microobjects with a Nanorobot


Zesch Wolfgang, Markus Brunner, Ariel Weber


Presented at the ICRA'97, Int'l Conf. on Robotics and Automation, April 1997, Albuquerque, NM, USA.


nanorobotics, particle handling, vacuum tool, adhesion force, hand-in-hand operation


One of the basic tasks a robot has to perform is to manipulate objects. For macroscopic applications mechanical grippers usually grasp the workpiece. Because of the different scaling of gravity and adhesion such tools are no more suitable in micro manipulation. A better strategy is to use adhesion forces or vacuum. Therefore, after a brief introduction to adhesion phenomenons this paper focuses on the investigation of a vacuum gripping tool consisting of a glass pipette and a computer controlled vacuum supply. Special emphasis is laid on the optimization of the tool's parameters in order to improve its pick & place capability. The tool has been integrated into the ETHZ NanoRobot and tested on dedicated benchmark test. It was possible to grip 100 micron sized diamond crystals and deposit them at arbitrary positions. Also emergency routines that allow to reliably get rid of sticking particles are presented. Finally the new setup of the multi-tool NanoRobot containing both the vacuum pipette and a microfabricated gripper is presented. It enables handling of micro-parts with more flexibility by working hand in hand.

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