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Control, manipulation and manufacture on the 1-10nm scale using localised forces and excitations

Final Report Summary - NANOMAN (Control, manipulation and manufacture on the 1-10 nanometre scale using localised forces and excitations)

The aim of the NANOMAN project was to develop novel methods in order to handle and control single molecules and nanostructures on the scale of ten nanometres (nm). The techniques and protocols developed have been based on Atomic force microscopy (AFM) which enables manipulation of nanostructures on insulating surfaces. The project aspired to theoretically and experimentally explore the fundamental processes which control AFM manipulation in nanoscale manufacture. The new techniques would enable long-term innovation in the areas of molecular nanostructures, controlled self-assembly and nanomachines.

The project achieved in building a number of new instruments for AFM which was used to manipulate large and small molecules as well as nanocrystals. Manipulation has been demonstrated in vacuum space at room temperature and liquid helium temperature. Another AFM system has been developed which operated in low temperature using cantilever force sensors and has been used to demonstrate molecular manipulation on dielectric surfaces. Moreover, a breakthrough was the use of cantilever based non-contact mode AFM to position single water molecules on an insulating surface of calcium fluoride (CaF2). Finally, a virtual AFM package has been developed which modelled the interactions between a scanning probe and an adsorbate considering the effects of feedback control to simulate images and estimate the forces which control manipulation.

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