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Hybrid Two-Scale Fabrication of Sub-Millimetric Capillary Grippers

TIPs Department, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(4), 224;
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microscale Surface Tension and Its Applications)
PDF [3171 KB, uploaded 29 March 2019]


Capillary gripping is a pick-and-place technique that is particularly well-suited for handling sub-millimetric components. Nevertheless, integrating a fluid supply and release mechanism becomes increasingly difficult to manufacture for these scales. In the present contribution, two hybrid manufacturing procedures are introduced in which the creation of the smallest features is decoupled from the macro-scale components. In the first procedure, small scale features are printed directly (by two-photon polymerisation) on top of a 3D-printed device (through stereolithography). In the second approach, directional ultraviolet (UV)-illumination and an adapted design allowed for successful (polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS) moulding of the microscopic gripper head on top of a metal substrate. Importantly, a fully functional microchannel is present in both cases through which liquid to grip the components can be supplied and retracted. This capability of removing the liquid combined with an asymmetric pillar design allows for a passive release mechanism with a placement precision on the order of 3% of the component size. View Full-Text
Keywords: capillary gripper; pick and place; micromanufacturing; two-photon polymerization; stereolithography; polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) replication capillary gripper; pick and place; micromanufacturing; two-photon polymerization; stereolithography; polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) replication

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dehaeck, S.; Cavaiani, M.; Chafai, A.; Tourtit, Y.; Vitry, Y.; Lambert, P. Hybrid Two-Scale Fabrication of Sub-Millimetric Capillary Grippers. Micromachines 2019, 10, 224.

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