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This microscope is used to view and manipulate atomic scale surfaces and objects. There are four components to this system, the actual microscope, the graphics system to display the information, a force feedback device PHANToM, and VRPN to allow all of these components to communicate. The microscope works by applying pressure to a surface with a very small, ten nanometer, pinhead to get height data. It then composes a picture on the graphics system using 
this data with the x and y coordinates of that sample point. In addition the PHANToM device can be used to feel this surface and also to apply addition force in order to manipulate the sample in the microscope. 

The nanoManipulator has been used since 1997 for a variety of experiments.  Many of these are medical related in the examination of different viruses.  Another important area of research is in the field of manipulating tiny carbon "bucky tubes". The key to the system is that it gives the user a virtual presence to work with samples down to the atomic scale. 



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