Research Paper

Journal of Micro-Nano Mechatronics

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 73-83

First online:

Vision-based feedback strategy for controlled pushing of microparticles

  • Nicholas A. LynchAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Lehigh University Email author 
  • , Cagdas D. OnalAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • , Eugenio SchusterAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Lehigh University
  • , Metin SittiAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

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A strategy for controlled pushing is presented for microassembly of 4.5μm polystyrene particles on a flat glass substrate using an atomic force microscope probe tip. Real-time vision based feedback from a CCD camera mounted to a high resolution optical microscope is used to track particle positions relative to the tip and target position. Tip–particle system is modeled in 2D as a non-holonomic differential drive robot. Effectiveness of the controller is demonstrated through experiments performed using a single goal position as well as linking a series of target positions to form a single complex trajectory. Cell decomposition and wavefront expansion algorithms are implemented to autonomously locate a navigable path to a specified target position. Control strategy alleviates problem of slipping and spinning during pushing.


Micro-particle manipulation Micro-assembly automation Vision-based feedback