One of the major goals in the future is to manufacture products at the nanoscale. In order to achieve that goal, researchers will need to use tools that can grab, pickup, push, pull, turnover, tap down, stack, and move atoms and molecules. To develop the tools needed to do this kind of work will take more research time.
For now, nanotechnololgists are using and are continuing to develop new nanomanipulators—tools to manipulate objects in nanometers. Nanomanipulators are and will be important tools in nanotechnology research and development,
Presently, scanning probe microscopy, such as the atomic force microscope and the scanning tunneling microscope, is one method to manipulate objects in nanometers. As an example, the AFM have been used to move atoms, carbon nanotubes, and to test electronic circuit boards and integrated circuits.
A few companies are providing add-ons or interfaces to scanning probe microscopes such as scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) and atomic force microscopes (AFM). Medical researchers have used a special kind of nanomanipulator to study fibrin fibers, the major components of blood clots. The researchers hope to gain insight into the healing process by observing the strength and mechanical properties of blood clots under a variety of conditions.
One company has a kind of nanomanipulator that offers several positions that grasp, move, and test nanoscale samples. This action allows simultaneous manipulation, imaging, and testing of samples.
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