More Information...

  • Bibliography :

    "The Nanomanipulator: a Virtual-Reality Interface to a Scanning Tunneling Microscope",94 Imagina proceedings pp67-76

  • Abstract :

    The Nanomanipulator system has been developed in collaboration by the Chemistry department of the University of California at Los Angeles and the Physics and Computer Science departments at the University of North California at Chapel Hill. The goal of the Nanomanipulator system is to allow the scientist to interact with a surface representation that matches as closely as possible the actual surface itself. Towards this goal, the system provides an immersive virtual-world interface to an STM. A head-mounted display shows a (blurry) stereo view of the STM data drawn as if it were a surface floating in space in front of the scientist. A force-feedback manipulator lets the user feel the height of the surface; the STM tip follows the user's hand motion to sample the surface as directed. Software control of the STM tip position, combined with control of a pulse generator, allows the scientist to target areas on the surface for change by moving his hand to the desired location and pressing a trigger. Pulse magnitude and duration can be adjusted using dials on a virtual control panel that floats in space near the user. The Nanomanipulator has been used to explore surfaces and perform surface modification experiments. When used to explore an ion-bombarded graphite surface, the real-time shading and motion allowed the discovery of planes of graphite that had become tilted up out of the surface. Prior visualization of the same data set by other means had not revealed these features. The interactive firing of pulses and immediate display of results enabled a series of experiments that revealed a new type of tip-sample interaction during pulses. It was discovered that often a wire forms between the tip and sample after a pulse, and that the feedback then pulls the tip back until the wire is broken. The key features of the system is that it gives the scientist presence and real-time control during the course of an experiment, placing him on the surface in control while things are happening. Using the system, the scientist can interactively (but as yet imperfectly) change the surface. The advantage of using the Nanomanipulator in this process is that the scientist can detect any mistakes or aberrations in the structure being built and correct them in real time. A skilled user can respond to surprise much more creatively than a computer algorithm, and when sculpting at the atomic scale, there are bound to be many surprises.

  • Some external links :

  • Some more Comments :

    All of the pictures and video of this project are copyright UNC. They have their own Web page for the project.See the URL in the related WWW adresses.

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