American Chemical Society
am0c17518_si_002.mp4 (12.89 MB)

Integrated Assembly and Flexible Movement of Microparts Using Multifunctional Bubble Microrobots

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posted on 2020-12-10, 20:38 authored by Liguo Dai, Daojing Lin, Xiaodong Wang, Niandong Jiao, Lianqing Liu
Industrial robots have been widely used for manufacturing and assembly in factories. However, at the microscale, most assembly technologies can only pattern the micromodules together loosely and can hardly combine the micromodules to directly form an entity that cannot be easily dispersed. In this study, surface bubbles are made to function as microrobots on a chip. These microrobots can move, fix, lift, and drop microparts and integratively assemble them into a tightly connected entity. As an example, the assembly of a pair of microparts with dovetails is considered. A jacklike bubble robot is used to lift and drop a micropart with a tail, whereas a mobile microrobot is used to push the other micropart with the corresponding socket to the proper position so that the tail can be inserted into the socket. The assembled microparts with the tail–socket joint can move as an entity without separation. Similarly, different types of parts are integratively assembled to form various structures such as gears, snake-shaped chains, and vehicles, which are then driven by bubble microrobots to perform different forms of movement. This assembly technology is simple and efficient and is expected to play an important role in micro-operation, modular assembly, and tissue engineering.