An Assembly Tool for Manufacturing Macro Systems from Micro-Scale Objects


Bert, J. A.; Biegelsen, D. K.; Burton, G.; Chow, E.; Crawford, L. S.; Davies, D.; Gibson, G.; Lu, J. P.; Lujan, R. A.; Maeda, P. Y.; Matei, I.; Plochowietz, A.; Raychaudhuri, S.; Rupp, B. B.; Shreve, M.; Wang, Q.; Wang, Y.; Wang, Y. An Assembly Tool for Manufacturing Macro Systems from Micro-Scale Objects . Material Research Society Meeting Fall 2017.; Boston, MA USA


Well established top down manufacturing techniques exist for assembling objects with high positional accuracy on millimeter length scales. Additionally, the significant research focus on nanotechnology over the past few decades has produced reliable bottoms up self-assembly at the nanoscale. However, there remains a gap in the ability to manufacture assemblies comprised of micrometer scale components. This limitation also constrains the utility of nano-scale assemblies that could provide unique functionality when incorporated into larger ordered heterogeneous structures. To address this gap we present a micro-scale digital assembly system capable of placing objects as small as 10 um with 1 um accuracy. Our assembly system consists of an optically driven electrostatic actuator array for positioning the micro-objects in two dimensions. The objects are suspended in a dielectric fluid on the array, and the array electrodes are used to dynamically manipulate the electric potential landscape to control their position and orientation. This reusable assembly array is integrated with a transfer system to move assembled patterns to a final substrate without loss of positional fidelity in order to enable functional use of the assemblies. This talk will describe the system architecture of our micro-assembler and present our recent assembly results including quickly ordering large numbers of particles with very high throughput, using computer vision to assemble highly accurate patterns, and transferring an assembled pattern to a final substrate with high fidelity.

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