Existing Resources at Northeastern University Piezoactive Systems Laboratory

The laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art piezoelectrically-driven micromanipulator for nano-objects and nanofiber grasping and manipulation applications (see Figure 1). It also includes several Active Probes (piezoelectrically-driven microcantilevers) for biological mass detection and sensing. This microcantilever is connected with a Real-Time Interface (RTI) hardware, the DS1104 controller board, through the nanocontroller unit. The interface is controlled at the PC level by the program Controldesk.

Figure 1 - Veeco Active Probes, DMASP (left), Microscopic view of the same cantilever (center), Live computer image of microcantilver (right)

Figure 2 - Experimental setup and interface for the dSPACE, and microcantilever (left), dSPACE unit (bottom right), Controldesk interface which is both actuating and sensing the microcantilevers (top right)

The microcantilever unit could be incorporated with a z-motorized stage Zeiss Microscope (Axio Imager.M2m) featuring 10x, 20x, and 50x objective lenses as well as a camera that is utilized for capturing movies from the live experiments. This allows control of the micro-robot movements through its set of I/O interfaces with a Zeiss high-performance PC. In order to virtually manipulate the nanoparticles and have a sense of interaction forces in the micro/nano-environment, a PHANTOM Omni haptic device is implemented and is integrated together with the PC and the dSPACE device.

Figure 3 - Zeiss Microscope setup, controls and screen display (left), Piezoactuated microcantilever being imaged at 20X zoom (right)

Figure 4 - Omni Haptic Device

The Veeco Active Probes can also be monitored by the Polytec Laser Vibrometer. The Laser Vibrometer produces a velocity output which can be integrated to displacement. From this reading, a number of results can be determined including the Fast Fourier Transform and ultimately the natural frequency. The laboratory is also home to many micro- and nano-positioning piezoelectric stages. These stages can be mounted together to form a 3DOF stage. The combination of the Laser Vibrometer or microcantilever unit mounted on the system of stages creates a system that simulates a scanning Laser Vibrometer.

Figure 5 - The picture on the left includes the Polytec Laser Vibrometer (left), Veeco Active Probe under the Laser Vibrometer head (center), Combination of micro-stages to create a 3DOF system (right).

The Piezoactive Systems Lab is also home of undergraduate projects such as this year's winning capstone project seen below. In this experiment, a needle was inserted into a sample at different translational velocities and frequencies of vibration. Calculations were then done to determine the system that resulted in the least resistance of inserting the needle.

Figure 6 - Capstone Experiment