Diverse physical interlocking devices have recently been developed based on one-dimensional (1D), high-aspect-ratio inorganic and organic nanomaterials. Although these 1D nanomaterial-based interlocking devices can provide reliable and repeatable shear adhesion, their adhesion in the normal direction is typically very weak. In addition, the high-aspect-ratio, slender structures are mechanically less durable. In this study, we demonstrate a highly flexible and robust interlocking system that exhibits strong and reversible adhesion based on physical interlocking between three-dimensional (3D) microscale architectures. The 3D microstructures have protruding tips on their cylindrical stems, which enable tight mechanical binding between the microstructures. Based on the unique 3D architectures, the interlocking adhesives exhibit remarkable adhesion strengths in both the normal and shear directions. In addition, their adhesion is highly reversible due to the robust mechanical and structural stability of the microstructures. An analytical model is proposed to explain the measured adhesion behavior, which is in good agreement with the experimental results.
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