Multi-batch micro-selfassembly via controlled capillary forces

Xiaorong Xiong, Yael Hanein, Weihua Wang, D. T. Schwartz, Karl F. Böhringer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recent advances in silicon processing and microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) have made possible the production of very large numbers of very small components at very low cost in massively parallel batches. Assembly, in contrast, remains a mostly serial (i.e., non-batch) technique. In this paper, we argue that massively parallel selfassembly of microparts will be a crucial enabling technology for future complex microsystems. As a specific approach, we present a technique for assembly of multiple batches of microparts based on capillary forces and controlled modulation of surface hydrophobicity. We derive a simplified model that gives rise to geometric algorithms for predicting assembly forces and for guiding the design optimization and selfassembling microparts. Promising initial results from theory and experiments and challenging open problems are presented to lay a foundation for general models and algorithms for selfassembly.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event2001 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems - Maui, HI, United States
Duration: 29 Oct 20013 Nov 2001


Conference2001 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMaui, HI


  • Capillary force
  • Hydrophilic
  • Hydrophobic
  • Massively parallel assembly
  • Microassembly
  • Selfassembly
  • Sensorless and distributed manipulation


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