‘Electroadhesive’ stamp picks up and puts down microscopic structures

Nanowerk  October 11, 2019
Mechanical pick-and-place technologies cannot manipulate smaller objects whose surface forces dominate over gravity, and emerging microtransfer printing methods require multidirectional motion, heating, and/or chemical bonding to switch adhesion. A team of researchers in the US (MIT, University of Pennsylvania) has developed soft nanocomposite electroadhesives (SNEs), comprising sparse forests of dielectric-coated carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which have electrostatically switchable dry adhesion. SNEs exhibit 40-fold lower nominal dry adhesion than typical solids, yet their adhesion is increased >100-fold by applying 30 V to the CNTs. They characterized the scaling of adhesion with surface morphology, dielectric thickness, and applied voltage and demonstrate digital transfer printing of films of Ag nanowires, polymer and metal microparticles, and unpackaged light-emitting diodes…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Picking and placing micro objects using a ceramic-carbon SNE. Credit: Science Advances 11 Oct 2019: Vol. 5, no. 10, eaax4790 

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