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An Innovative Polymeric Material for Microhandling

[+] Author Affiliations
Claudia Pagano, Irene Fassi

Institute of Industrial Technology and Automation - National Research Council, Milano, Italy

Paper No. MSEC_ICMP2008-72485, pp. 359-365; 7 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference collocated with the 3rd JSME/ASME International Conference on Materials and Processing
  • ASME 2008 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference, Volume 2
  • Evanston, Illinois, USA, October 7–10, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Manufacturing Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4852-4 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3836-6
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The rationales for the use of microsystems are numerous, including the reduction of consumables (less chemicals in Lab-on-a-Chip), a faster response time (airbag sensors), the enhanced portability (RF-MEMS), the higher resolution (Inkjet printer head), and the higher efficiency (micro-chemical reactor); moreover their application sectors are numerous. For this reason, during the past decades many improvements have been done concerning the design and manufacturing of microsystems and several products have been fabricated for a great variety of applications in the traditional fields, including the medical and biomedical sectors (e.g.: pacemakers, analysis equipments, microtweezers for minimally invasive surgery, micro drug delivery systems), automotive (sensors for safety in cars e.g. electrostatic field sensors for controlling airbags), aeronautics and aerospace (lightweight distributed sensors for micro crack detection), IT (ink jet printers, reading caps for hard disk, micropumps for microprocessor cooling) and telecommunication (e.g. micro optical switches) as well as in more innovative areas, such as household appliances, entertainment and sport equipment (noise canceller ear plugs, variable stiffness tennis racket, skis equipped with piezoelectric active dampers). Nevertheless microproducts have still great difficulty in penetrating the market, mainly due to the limits of the fabrication processes. Indeed, the two main approaches, monolithic and hybrid, show both many issues to overcome. On one side, the monolithic approach has the consolidate expertise of lithographic processes for the manufacturing of electronic devices on one hand, but on the other hand it has the difficulty in producing three dimensional microdevices with good mechanical properties. On the other side, the hybrid approach is suitable for the fabrication of three dimensional microscopic structures but often fails in assembling processes (12). In order to overcome these issues, new materials have often been studied at microscale to extend the manipulation principles of macroproducts to microsystems (e.g. SMA microgripper (1)), but the techniques imported from the assembly of macro components are, usually, not adaptable for microcomponents, which are subject to very strong superficial forces (3). Therefore new techniques for the manipulation of microcomponents, based on innovative principles, have been conceived and have to be further developed. In this paper the use of new materials in combination with a new handling principle has been proposed and the preliminary results concerning the study of the electrostrictive behavior of a dielectric polymeric smart material, which is promising for the assembly of microcomponents, has been presented.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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