Improved Microtweezers DevelopedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: January 19, 2012 06:19PM
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new microtweezer design. When scientists need to physically manipulate small objects, like living cells, they turn to one of a few tools, including microtweezers. Traditional microtweezers have required electricity to operate; opening and closing the prongs. This design uses a knob to power and control the motion.
Consisting of three parts, a knob similar to that found on micrometers, the two-pronged tweezer made of silicon, and a “graphite interface” between the two, the design is quite simple. The “graphite interface” converts the turning motion of the knob into a push-pull motion for opening and closing the tweezer prongs. Such simplicity gives the design great potential, especially as the heat, magnetism, or electricity needed in other designs could be incompatible with whatever material is being worked with. This design is also easier to manufacturer, thanks to its simplicity.
Among its uses, a microtweezer can be used to create microscale structures, manipulate living cells, and position objects on scales. Also, this particular design allows the tweezer to hold an object while being detached from a platform and moved to another laboratory.