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Soft Continuous Surface for Micromanipulation driven by Light-controlled Hydrogels


Conference Paper


Remotely controlled, automated actuation and manipulation at the microscale is essential for a number of micro-manufacturing, biology, and lab-on-a-chip applications. To transport and manipulate micro-objects, arrays of remotely controlled micro-actuators are required, which, in turn, typically require complex and expensive solid-state chips. Here, we show that a continuous surface can function as a highly parallel, many-degree of freedom, wirelessly-controlled microactuator with seamless deformation. The soft continuous surface is based on a hydrogel that undergoes a volume change in response to applied light. The fabrication of the hydrogels and the characterization of their optical and thermomechanical behaviors are reported. The temperature-dependent localized deformation of the hydrogel is also investigated by numerical simulations. Static and dynamic deformations are obtained in the soft material by projecting light fields at high spatial resolution onto the surface. By controlling such deformations in open loop and especially closed loop, automated photoactuation is achieved. The surface deformations are then exploited to examine how inert microbeads can be manipulated autonomously on the surface. We believe that the proposed approach suggests ways to implement universal 2D micromanipulation schemes that can be useful for automation in microfabrication and lab-on-a-chip applications.

Author(s): Choi, E. and Jeong, H.-H. and Qiu, T. and Fischer, P. and Palagi, S.
Year: 2019
Month: July
Day: 5

Department(s): Micro, Nano, and Molecular Systems
Bibtex Type: Conference Paper (conference)

Event Name: 4th IEEE International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS)
Event Place: Finland


  title = {Soft Continuous Surface for Micromanipulation driven by Light-controlled Hydrogels},
  author = {Choi, E. and Jeong, H.-H. and Qiu, T. and Fischer, P. and Palagi, S.},
  month = jul,
  year = {2019},
  month_numeric = {7}