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Biomedical manipulation experiences in the nano-range

Individual microbial cells may differ from each other in their genetic, biochemical, physiological, or behavioural properties. Recent advances in analytical methods and technologies have enabled microbiologists to resolve these individual cellular differences at unprecedented levels of detail. Methods capable of single-cell resolution have provided fundamental insights into the inner workings of microbes and their interactions with each other, with higher organisms, or with the environment.

The nanoscale AFM working robot should allow getting information on the effects of the nanomanipulation process in real time and on the scale of affected region on processes such as cell growth, cell proliferation, cell communication, etc. Microrobots incorporing AFM allow:

- Not only topological measurements are available (with nanometric resolution); AFM is also capable of complementary techniques that provide information on other surface properties (stiffness, hardness, friction, elasticity, conductivity, etc.).

- Rather than drying the sample (as done in the other microscopes), one can operate AFM in aqueous solution (which allows the live of the cells) and nanomanipulate cells in their physiological environments and study biological processes in real time.

The microrobot has two modes of AFM: nanoindentation and scanning. Scanning is obtaining and image of the surface. Nanoindentation consists of obtaining a force curve in one point of the bacteria. Repeating this nanoindentation experiments all over the sample we could work in the calle "Jumping Mode" which is the best way to image samples in liquids. The microrobots could cooperate for doing simultaneous measurements in different part of the bacteria (i.e. for measuring the mechanical effort transmission through a membrane) or cooperate with a commercial AFM microscope. It opens a full range of experiences impossible of make with traditional AFM equipments.

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