Development of novel micropneumatic grippers for biomanipulation
Alogla, Ageel Farraj Ali
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Microbjects with dimensions from 1 μm to 1 mm have been developed recently for different aspects and purposes. Consequently, the development of handling and manipulation tools to fulfil this need is urgently required. Micromanipulation techniques could be generally categorized according to their actuation method such as electrostatic, thermal, shape memory alloy, piezoelectric, magnetic, and fluidic actuation. Each of which has its advantage and disadvantage. The fluidic actuation has been overlooked in MEMS despite its satisfactory output in the micro-scale. This thesis presents different families of pneumatically driven, low cost, compatible with biological environment, scalable, and controllable microgrippers. The first family demonstrated a polymeric microgripper that was laser cut and actuated pneumatically. It was tested to manipulate microparticles down to 200 microns. To overcome the assembly challenges that arise in this family, the second family was proposed. The second family was a micro-cantilever based microgripper, where the device was assembled layer by layer to form a 3D structure. The microcantilevers were fabricated using photo-etching technique, and demonstrated the applicability to manipulate micro-particles down to 200 microns using automated pick-and-place procedure. In addition, this family was used as a tactile-detector as well. Due to the angular gripping scheme followed by the above mentioned families, gripping smaller objects becomes a challenging task. A third family following a parallel gripping scheme was proposed allowing the gripping of smaller objects to be visible. It comprises a compliant structure microgripper actuated pneumatically and fabricated using picosecond laser technology, and demonstrated the capability of gripping microobject as small as 100 μm microbeads. An FEA modelling was employed to validate the experimental and analytical results, and excellent matching was achieved.