Manipulation of Capillary force by Electrowetting for Micromanipulation

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Microassembly is the future of MEMS and NEMS technology. But greatest barrier to the idea of micro scale assembly is micromanipulation. The steps in micromanipulation are pickup, moving and releasing and the most difficult part is the release of the object due to higher adhesion force in micro scale. It has been understood that the capillary force is the prominent force in micro scale so manipulation of that force would enable us to manipulate object. Schemes for manipulating this capillary force have been introduced in early papers by regulation of liquid bridge volume, changing the probe geometry and using a Peltier device to manipulate the liquid bridge evaporation and condensation. We are proposing a novel way of manipulating the capillary force by using electrowetting methods. Electrowetting is a phenomenon where the contact angle of a solid liquid interface changes when voltage is applied to it. Our design will include this electro wetting on dielectric method and implement it on the probe tip so that by applying voltage we can control the contact angle of liquid probe interface. Change in contact angle on the other hand will change the capillary force exerted by the liquid bridge between two objects and enable a more effective release mechanism for micromanipulation.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 3, Technical Proceedings of the 2006 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 3
Published: May 7, 2006
Pages: 578 - 581
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topics: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 0-9767985-8-1