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Micromachines 2011, 2(1), 69-81; doi:10.3390/mi2010069

Self-Assembly of Microscale Parts through Magnetic and Capillary Interactions

1,* , 1, 1,2
1 Sensors & Electron Devices Directorate, US Army Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783, USA 2 Materials Science and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 January 2011 / Revised: 20 February 2011 / Accepted: 23 February 2011 / Published: 1 March 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Assembly)
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Self-assembly is a promising technique to overcome fundamental limitations with integrating, packaging, and general handling of individual electronic-related components with characteristic lengths significantly smaller than 1 mm. Here we describe the use of magnetic and capillary forces to self-assemble 280 µm sized silicon building blocks into interconnected structures which approach a three-dimensional crystalline configuration. Integrated permanent magnet microstructures provided magnetic forces, while a low-melting-point solder alloy provided capillary forces. A finite element model of forces between the magnetic features demonstrated the utility of magnetic forces at this size scale. Despite a slight departure from designed dimensions in the actual fabricated parts, the combination of magnetic and capillary forces improved the assembly yield to 8%, over approximately 0.1% achieved previously with capillary forces alone.
Keywords: self-assembly; solder; magnetic forces self-assembly; solder; magnetic forces
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Morris, C.J.; Isaacson, B.; Grapes, M.D.; Dubey, M. Self-Assembly of Microscale Parts through Magnetic and Capillary Interactions. Micromachines 2011, 2, 69-81.

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