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Nanomanipulation in the SEM: theory and practice

Nanoscale objects, such as nanowires and nanoparticles, can't be seen under the optical microscope due to the diffraction limit. So they have to be observed in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Inside SEM, under vacuum conditions, forces experienced by nanoscale objects are different from those at macroscale: the gravity is negligible, while van der Waals, or weak electrostatic, forces dominate.

This application note offers the reader an understanding  of the forces acting on objects at nanoscale, and a few tips and tricks to manipulate such objects in the SEM more efficiently. 

The experimental section shows how to pick up nanowires from a native substrate and transfer them to another substrate.

The experiment is carried out in a MERLIN SEM from Carl Zeiss with the Nanoprobing SEM Solution from Imina Technologies equipped with 4 miBot™ nanomanipulators.

Experiment realized at

National Enterprise for nanoScience and nanoTechnology (NEST), Pisa, Italy

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Imina Technologies' application engineer shows a colleague how to land probes on nanoscale contacts for in-situ SEM transistor characterization.