Rapid prototyping of nanotube-based devices using topology-optimized microgrippers

Özlem Sardan, Volkmar Eichhorn, D.H. Petersen, S. Fatikow, Ole Sigmund, P. Boggild

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Nanorobotic handling of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) using microgrippers is one of the most promising approaches for the rapid characterization of the CNTs and also for the assembly of prototypic nanotube-based devices. In this paper, we present pick-and-place nanomanipulation of multi-walled CNTs in a rapid and a reproducible manner. We placed CNTs on copper TEM grids for structural analysis and on AFM probes for the assembly of AFM super-tips. We used electrothermally actuated polysilicon microgrippers designed using topology optimization in the experiments. The microgrippers are able to open as well as close. Topology optimization leads to a 10-100 times improvement of the gripping force compared to conventional designs of similar size. Furthermore, we improved our nanorobotic system to offer more degrees of freedom. TEM investigation of the CNTs shows that the multi-walled tubes are coated with an amorphous carbon layer, which is locally removed at the contact points with the microgripper. The assembled AFM super-tips are used for AFM measurements of microstructures with high aspect ratios.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number49
Pages (from-to)495503
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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