A nanometric house built on the face of an optical fiber has been assembled by a micro-robotics system developed by nano-robotics researchers from the Femto-ST Institute.
Specifically, the tile roof of this house, the smallest in the world, shows the new ability of the Robotex nanofactor ion gun to focus on an area of 300 by 300 micrometers.
As he explains Jean-Yves Rauch, one of the main authors of the development:
For the first time we were able to make designs and assembly with less than 2 nanometers of precision, which is a very important result for the robotics and optics community. We decided to build the microcase on the fiber to show that we can make these microsystem assemblies on an optical fiber with high precision
Combining various technologies (a focused ion beam, a gas injection system and a small and maneuverable robot), researchers have achieved that miniaturized detection elements are installed on the fiber tips so that engineers can see and manipulate the different components. In this way, thin optical fibers such as human hair can be inserted in inaccessible places such as jet engines and blood vessels to detect radiation levels or viral molecules.
The team of researchers hopes to further push the limits of technology, building smaller structures and fixing them in carbon nanotubes, only 20 nanometers to 100 nanometers in diameter.