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Micro-manipulator handles single cells

07 July, 2008

The Japanese bearings and mechatronics specialist NSK has developed a micro-manipulation system that uses a piezoelectric positioning technology to handle items as small as a single cell.

NSK micro-manipulator

A three-axis positioning stage (shown above) is driven by a rotary motor and ballscrew and uses a high-resolution piezoelectric element for fine positioning control. The manipulator is expected to find a variety of medical and biotechnology applications, as well as being used by nanotechnologists to assemble microscopic tools. Its ability to manipulate cells is currently being evaluated at Azabu University in Japan.

The manipulator incorporates a high degree of automation, allowing it to be used by unskilled operators instead of the specialised personnel usually needed to operate equipment of this type.

NSK hopes to commercialise the micro-manipulator technology within a year.

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