Development of Miniature Manipulators for Applications in Biology and Nanotechnologies
In the precision engineering industry, research and development is undertaken towards the development of microfactories, miniaturized environments for fabrication and assembly of small components. Micro handling and micromanipulation, especially in biology, but also in other fields, often require dedicated devices and special environments (pressure, humidity and temperature controlled) as well. It would be a logical step to miniaturize micromanipulation and micro handling devices to a certain extent in a similar manner as tools and environments, with the same advantages as microfactories have for manufacturing: lower energy consumption, better control of the operation environment and smaller space required for an entire laboratory. This paper presents several miniature positioning and manipulation devices based on piezoelectric transducers, which can serve to build a “Microfactory” for application in Microbiology for either telemanipulation or semi- and fully autonomous manipulation. The proposed devices employ an amplification of the piezoelectric motion with bimorph, monolithic flexure bridges or inertial principles.