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Wester B.A.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Wester B.A.,Emory University | Wester B.A.,NanoGrip Technologies Inc. | Rajaraman S.,NanoGrip Technologies Inc. | And 5 more authors.
Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical | Year: 2011

This paper presents the successful design, modeling, fabrication, packaging, and characterization of a mechanically actuated micro-electro- mechanical-systems (MEMS) microtweezer. This complete and modular MEMS system has minimal manufacturing complexity and can be augmented to any standard micromanipulator or positioning system. The microtweezer is mechanically actuated and hence has minimal impact on the surrounding microenvironment, a key consideration for micromanipulation. The microtweezer components are fabricated utilizing standard electroplating based processes. The microtweezer is functionally attached to a tether-cable system packaged within a stainless steel luer needle, which can be mounted to a manual controller with a luer interface. The controller, which provides axial rotational movement of the microtweezer, can be attached to any positioning stage to allow 5+ degrees of movement freedom. Mechanical modeling and characterization of the system shows that precise and controlled tool actuation is achieved with tip closing forces averaging 360 mN over an actuation range of 125 μm. The system's performance and ease of use can provide the means to create and enhance a multitude of experimental preparations previously not possible. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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