Patent Number: 6,251,658

Title: Inertial impact drill for cytological applications

Abstract: An inertial impact drill for diverse applications in cytology such as in-vitro fertilization, genetic research, pharmaceutical research, cloning, etc., is designed to operate in conjunction with micropipettes, microelectrodes, and micromanipulators. The drill includes two opposing actuators, one version of which is comprised a plurality of individual piezoelectric elements, the other version is comprised of a plurality of electrostrictive elements. The actuators drive a small inertial mass to produce sharp short reciprocal movements of this mass. The movements of the inertial mass result in repetitive impacts that are transferred to the micropipette or a microelectrode, which is mechanically coupled to the body of the inertial impact drill. In addition, the impacts cause mechanical oscillation of the tip of a micropipette or a microelectrode at its resonant frequency that is higher than the repetition rate of the impacts. The drill is suitably attached to a micromanipulator that serves to advance in a controlled mode the drill toward a cell or withdraw it from the cell. Though no net displacement of the tip of the micropipette or the electrode is produced due to the action of the drill, the tip of the micropipette or of an electrode penetrates the wall/membrane of the cell and, if appropriate, that of the nucleus. Such penetration occurs without any damage to the cell or its nucleus. The cell is held in place in the usual manner with a holding pipette. The resulting opening may then be used to inject or remove sperm or other genetic, biological, or chemical materials into the cell or the nucleus, or to insert a microelectrode. The opening in the cell wall subsequently closes. The action of the inertial impact drill is like that of a miniature jackhammer.

Inventors: Henderson; David A. (Farmington, NY), Fasick, III; John C. (Lima, NY), Culhane; Robert L. (Manchester, NY), Friedrich; Edward H. (Canandaigua, NY)

Assignee: Burleigh Instruments, INC

International Classification: C12M 3/00 (20060101); G01N 1/28 (20060101); H01L 41/09 (20060101); C12M 001/00 ()

Expiration Date: 06/26/2018