Less-invasive non-embedded cell cutting by nanomanipulation and vibrating nanoknife

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Original languageEnglish
Article number43701
Journal / PublicationApplied Physics Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2017


The less-invasive non-embedded cell cutting or slicing technique provides opportunities for a bio-study at subcellular scale, but there are few effective solutions available at the current stage. This paper reports a robot-aided vibrating system for less-invasive non-embedded cell cutting and investigates the role of key vibrating parameters in the cell cutting process. First, a nanoknife with sharp angle 5° is fabricated from a commercial atomic force microscope cantilever by focused ion beam etching and a vibrating system is constructed from a piezo actuator. Then, they are integrated with a self-developed nanorobotic manipulation system inside an environment scanning electron microscope. After that, we choose yeast cells as the sample to implement the vibrating cutting and investigate the effect of vibrating parameters (frequency and amplitude) on cell cutting quality. The results clearly indicate that the vibrating nanoknife is able to reduce the cutting force and improve the cutting quality. It is also suggested that the repeated load-unload (impact) cycle is the main reason for the better performance of vibrating cutting. The effect of vibrating parameters at small scale benefits our fundamental understanding on cell mechanics, and this research paves a way for the low-destructive non-embedded cell cutting and promotes the practical cell cutting techniques.