Nano, Micro Manipulation & Manipulators | IMINA Technologies

Imina Technologies Nano Manipulation & Micro Manipulation

Imina Technologies is built on over 10 years of research in high precision robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL). The company is the maker of the miBot™, an extremely versatile and intuitive to use piezo-based manipulator.

Mounted on an electron microscope, focused ion beam or optical microscope system, it is used to position probe tips, grippers, optical fibres or pipettes with micrometre or even nanometre precision. Applications include electrical and mechanical probing, nano and micro manipulation and failure analysis. The device can be used on electronic devices and MEMS, or to handle and characterize properties of nanoparticles and biological samples.

With 4 degrees of freedom in an ultra compact and light body, the miBot is a unique piezo-based positioner. Contrary to a traditional manipulator, the miBot is a mobile robot. It is virtually untethered and free to move over the surface of the base where your sample is placed. Since it has no mounting screws, the miBot can be coarsely positioned by hand and naturally adapts to changing sample size and geometry.

The miBot moves along its natural axes; no rotational and translational motions are coupled. This makes it extremely intuitive to control the majority of users will only need a few minutes of training before starting to get results.

The miBot’s ease of use also greatly reduces the risk of damaging your samples and gives confidence to carry out delicate positioning manoeuvres. The miBot moves in two different modes, providing scalable positioning resolutions from the micrometer to the nanometer. In stepping mode, the piezoelectric actuators are operated with AC voltage.

The range of displacements of the miBot are several centimeters with a resolution up to 40 nm. No signal is applied on the actuators to maintain the position. In scanning mode, DC voltage is applied and maintained on the actuators with the amplitude defining the displacements. The range of displacements is a few hundreds of nanometers with a resolution up to the nanometer.

The high stiffness of the miBot monolithic design makes this high precision instrument very robust to vibration and guarantees that motion are smooth even at high optical magnifications. Additionally, the small size of the miBot provides better mechanical and thermal stability than manipulators with larger lever arm caused by their serial design.

Features

  • Scalable positioning resolution (µm to nm)
  • Centimetre range displacements
  • Compact and robust design
  • Decoupled movements
  • Operates under high vacuum
  • Compatibility with multiple tools and probes

Benefits

  • Probe large samples with vibration free nanometre resolution motion
  • Experiment faster while reducing the risk of damaging your samples and getting more results
  • Reduce footprint of positioning instruments on your test bench or microscope
  • Protect your investment over time with a versatile system designed for upgradability

Applications

  • In situ material characterisation
  • Micro / nano handling
  • Electrical transport measurements
  • SEM / TEM sample preparation
  • MEMS / NEMS testing
  • Local collection of light
  • Liquid dispensing

 

Imina’s offering is divided into 3 product lines—Nanoprobing, Compact, and Portable—with a high level of modularity and interconvertibility in order to adapt to your equipment, samples, and experimental requirements.

 

Imina product line

Nanoprobing SEM solution (Vacuum)

The Imina Technologies Nanoprobing packages are unique, vacuum-compatible solutions for nanomanipulation and characterization of electrical devices and advanced materials at the nanometer scale. Specifically designed for low current measurements, leakage currents can be as low as 100 fA/V. Electrical characterization of nanostructures can be carried out with third party source-meter units (SMU) and signal analyzers through the shielded cabling, featuring an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. These packages embed four miBot™ our famously easy-to-use and versatile piezoactuated micro robots— allowing you to independently position the probes over millimeter scale samples with a resolution down to the nanometre scale. The stages can be directly mounted in the microscope, or be transferred in and out of your SEM using the load lock.

Applications include:

Probe Station (Ambient)

Imina’s latest offering includes a fully integrated probe station for wafer-level electrical measurements, including optical microscope and moveable sample stage for automation of probing experiments on ICs and MEMS. Designed for wafers up to 6”, this probe station accommodates up to 8 independent probers, a motorized XYZ wafer stage, optics with coaxial illumination and digital camera. All components are controlled from a unified software application making it easy to move the wafer to specific locations, program test routines, and collect the data.

Compact solution (Ambient)

Available in various shapes and dimensions, the compact stages accommodate 1 or up to 4 miBots. These stages allow the user to make the most of the ultra-small size of the mi-bot manipulator. Their dimensions are kept to the minimum, since all electronics are housed externally, and their only purpose is to serve as a motion arena for the manipulator. They are designed to be easily mounted on standard optical breadboards and microscope stages with screws and clamps. It is thus very quick to reconfigure your setup to adapt a new experiment. The Compact packages are ideally suited for use at low optical working distance. They are also well adapted to contact large substrates mounted on sample holders that are moved by a positioning stage (e.g. wafer chucks, Petri dishes).

Applications include:

Portable solution (Ambient and Vacuum)

Imina Technologies Portable packages enable to take full advantage of the versatility, compactness and ease-of-use of the miBot™ piezoactuactued mobile robots.

The whole system features up to four manipulators allowing you to independently position the probes over millimetre scale samples with a resolution down to a few tenth of nanometres.

The platform accommodates samples up to 5 cm (2”) diameter. Specially designed to be extremely fast to install, it offers several mounting interfaces that fit most optical and electron microscopes (SEM), and moving from one to another is a matter of minutes. Ideal for labs with shared equipment, a Portable package system fits a suitcase for convenient transport and storage.

Applications include:

 

Tools

The capabilities of the miBot™ can be extended thanks to its proprietary tool holder that allows the exchange or replacement of tools within seconds. Available tools include:

  • Mirco-gripper tool with an opening of 60 micron
  • Prober tips of different sizes and with different connectivity
  • Optical fibre holder
  • Micropippette holder
  • Custom tool holder for your own tools