3rdTech’s First Commercial Installation Will Build Tools for Nondestructive Evaluation

3rdTech Inc., developing products and businesses from leading-edge
university research, today announced the installation of the first
commercial NanoManipulator DP-100 Visualization and Control System at
NASA Langley Research Center (NASA-LARC).

The NanoManipulator System, along with a ThermoMicroscopes’
Explorer Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM), will be used to employ
nanotechnology in developing tools for nondestructive evaluation.

The NanoManipulator System was originally developed at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by collaboration between
the Departments of Computer Science and Physics and provides
interactive, precise, real-time control of an SPM. Using the
NanoManipulator, a scientist can take control of the SPM’s probe, move
it to precisely the desired location in a sample, and then
interactively manipulate atomic-sized structures. These capabilities
enable explorations and manipulations that are difficult or impossible
with traditional SPM controls. The system has been in development and
test for several years at UNC-CH, and is now available commercially.

The nondestructive evaluation (NDE) research group at NASA-LARC
will use the NanoManipulator DP-100 and Explorer SPM to precisely
extract, manipulate and place individual carbon nanotubes. The goal is
to create devices employing carbon nanotubes that can be used to test
for structural weaknesses in aircraft surfaces. “Today engineers use
optical microscopes to wire electronic circuitry”, said Buzz
Wincheski, Aerospace Technologist at NASA-LARC. “We’re using the
NanoManipulator to wire circuits ten thousand times smaller.” The
NanoManipulator DP-100 provides a `force-feedback’ or haptic display,
which lets the user `feel’ the surface of the sample. When the probe
on an SPM is being used for manipulation, it is no longer scanning the
surface and the visual display will be slightly mis-registered due to
drift and hysteresis. The haptic display is not subject to these
effects and provides accurate location information throughout any
manipulations. This makes it possible to select and move a single
carbon nanotube. Other features of the NanoManipulator DP-100 include
advanced 3D graphics, an automatic lab notebook for complete session
archives, and a PC viewer for viewing session archives on any
graphics-enabled PC.

“It’s very gratifying seeing the NanoManipulator System in the
hands of new researchers”, said Nick England, President and CEO of
3rdTech, Inc. “We believe its unique capabilities will make it a `must
have’ in every nanotechnology research center’s toolkit.” Additional
information about the NanoManipulator System and research resulting
from its use is available at www.3rdtech.com/NanoManipulator.htm.

About 3rdTech

3rdTech operates as a foundry for new companies, working to turn
the most advanced technologies into leading-edge products. 3rdTech
provides experienced entrepreneurial management, product development
expertise and engineering, and high-tech marketing know-how to bring
technology from the lab to the marketplace. Working with researchers
from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 3rdTech is
driven by the opportunities to build new businesses around this
exceptional talent pool and its world-class inventions. Visit the
company’s web site (http://www.3rdTech.com) for more information.