MEMS Nanoprobe for Transmission Electron Microscopy
Department of Energy
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Small Business Information
1321 North Plano Road, Richardson, TX, 75081
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Abstract76336-Research in nanotechnology has grown at an astounding rate in the last few years and is expected to accelerate even more in the next decade. However, tools to characterize materials, structures, and devices at the nanometer scale have not kept pace. For example, the nanomanipulation tools used within transmission electron microscopes are limited to two-probe stages and sample holders that have inadequate in situ positioning capability and functionality. These limitations prevent scientists from obtaining precise four-probe electrical measurements and restrict their ability to determine critical mechanical properties. This project will develop a micro-electromechanically-based flexible and adaptable transmission electron microscopy tool for in situ manipulation and characterization of nanomaterials, nanostructures, and nanodevices. The tool will be computer controlled with three micro-electromechanically-driven independently adjustable probes and one piezo-driven probe suitable for accurate four-point electrical measurements. The three micro-electromechanically-driven, independently controlled probes will feature precise positioning capability in all directions, while the single probe will be equipped with a quick exchange mechanism for mounting micro-tweezers or a force sensor. Phase I will establish feasibility by designing, fabricating, and testing the micro-electromechanical XYZ positioning stages. A probe cartridge will be developed to house the three positioning stages, and a piezo-based positioning system will be designed and constructed for the fourth probe. Finally, to demonstrate proof-of-concept, a two-probe prototype unit using one micro-electromechanically-driven probe, along with the piezo-driven probe, will be constructed and tested. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The four-probe nanomanipulation tool for transmission electron microscopy should expand research capabilities in: advanced materials (metal alloys, polymers, composites, and ceramics), energy technology (superconductors, fuel cells, and batteries), and electronics research (traditional semiconductors, data storage devices, and quantum computing circuits).
* information listed above is at the time of submission.