"Nano-fingers" for nanoengineers
Effective manipulation of nano-objects
Usually in microscopes the manipulator which can move nano-object only in one plane is used. For multi-coordinate movement and other operations typically use at least two manipulators, which must first be attached to the nano-objects, and after manipulation – be detached. As a result, the preparatory operations require from 20 minutes to two hours, which significantly limits the productivity of research and transformations of nano-objects.
Unique ultraprecise capabilities combine with very simple, easy and intuitive controls – nanoinstruments are driven by a simple press of a button without any prior operations. Easy to control due to the fact that activation of the shape memory effect (by heating at a temperature of about 15°C or by using an electric current) requires no motor, no transmission lines, and provides an extremely simple method of operation. Moreover, record-breaking small tools have dimensions of the same order with nanoparticles, which makes manipulation easy, convenient and effective.
The development of biomedical nanotechnology with new tools
Unique features of nanoinstruments were demonstrated in experiment in the chamber of ion microscope, where with the help of nano-gripper a hair on the leg of a mosquito was dissected. It should be noted, that competing manipulators are also much larger and don't allow to work with most biological objects because of unacceptably high operating temperatures (350°C).
Modern biomedical research methods involve a significant decrease in the quantity of biological material. Some types of cells must be very carefully, without damaging separated and extracted. For example, for biopsy of tumor cells is important not to damage the tumor's "bag of cells", because otherwise distribution of metastases is possible. Proportional with the studied objects, nanoinstruments can penetrate through the pore into the tumor without damaging the bag, i.e. they offer new unique features of safe sampling for biopsy.
Using of nanoinstruments for the first time in the world gives the possibility of operating in a micrometer-size confined spaces, for example, in the capillaries, within individual cells of tumors and in other tiny cavities of the human body or other organisms. This opens the following perspectives:
creation of ultra-precise and ultra-portable instruments for nanosurgery, including cellular, intracellular and capillary;
tissue engineering with the manipulation at the level of individual cells;
development of subminiature active catheters, including capsular catheters for colonoscopy and cardiovascular surgery;
creation of subminiature biomicroelectro-mechanical systems;
development of ultra-precise and ultra-portable systems for targeted drug delivery.
In biology and medicine it is important to observe and analyze various biochemical reactions in real time to study the structure and function of individual cells and other bio nano-objects. Nanoinstruments enable such observations due to the absence of sample preparation and instant gripping.
New nanoinstruments in nanoelectronics
Modern methods of nanoproduction can be divided into two classes: bottom-up and top-down. Self-organization at the nano-level seems to be the most promising for the bottom-up class. Due to the possibility of manipulation of individual nano-objects in real time, nanoinstruments offer new ways of implementing of bottom-up processes, namely the assembly of nanodevices of individual blocks (nanoparticles) or molecular nano-assembler.
Developments of nanomechanic and electronic devices, based on nanoparticles, is conducted already for a long time. Nanoinstruments able to provide technical implementation of the production of such nanodevices. We are talking about creation of new generation of technologies to build systems of large single molecules or single nanoparticles. Perspective can be, for example, the following areas: molecular nano-assembler for large molecules (such as carbon nanotubes and DNA) or particles (e.g., graphene); molecular mechanosynthesis; measurement of properties of individual nano-objects, a new generation of nano- and microrobotic; nano- and mikrosensorik; nano- and microfluidics, molecular laboratory on a chip.
Thus, the implementation in the research practice of new tools, able to manipulate nano-objects in real time, will give a significant impetus to the development of nanomechanical industry. The organization, which first started using the new nanoinstruments will receive tangible benefits in research and development of new products. ■