Skip to main content Accessibility help

Subfeature patterning of organic and inorganic materials using robotic assembly

  • Afshin Tafazzoli (a1), Chao-Min Cheng (a1), Chytra Pawashe (a2), Emily K. Sabo (a1), Lacramioara Trofin (a1), Metin Sitti (a2) and Philip R. LeDuc (a3)...


The ability to create small-scale material patterns using lithography has been limited by the feature sizes and assembly of the master stamping system. Developing a simple and robust robotically automated patterning technique for both organic and inorganic materials, which is able to be actively controlled down to scales smaller than the operating features, would enable new capabilities and directions in research. Here, a novel method is presented to form patterns of defined shape and distribution via automated assembly along with force-controlled microstamping. Robotic assembly based particle templates and pyramid structures were used to create controlled distributions of materials. Systems including quantum dots and biomolecules were patterned, demonstrating our ability to create repeatable geometries with size scales smaller than the master stamping system. These patterns were also utilized for constraining cell adhesion and spreading. This work has potential applications in diverse areas from building molecular circuits to probing biological pattern formation.


Corresponding author

a)These authors contributed equally.
b)Present address: NanoDynamics Life Sciences, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
c)Address all correspondence to these authors. e-mail:


Hide All
1Kim, S.O., Solak, H.H., Stoykovich, M.P., Ferrier, N.J., de Pablo, J.J.Nealey, P.F.: Epitaxial self-assembly of block copolymers on lithographically defined nanopatterned substrates. Nature 424, 411 2003
2Chen, C.S., Mrksich, M., Huang, S., Whitesides, G.M.Ingber, D.E.: Geometric control of cell life and death. Science 276, 1425 1997
3Bernard, A., Renault, J.P., Michel, B., Bosshard, H.R.Delamarche, E.: Microcontact printing of proteins. Adv. Mater. 12, 1067 2000
4Lin, K-H., Crocker, J.C., Prasad, V., Schofield, A., Weitz, D.A., Lubensky, T.C.Yodh, A.G.: Entropically driven colloidal crystallization on patterned surfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 1770 2000
5Venkateswar, R.A., Branch, D.W.Wheeler, B.C.: An electrophoretic method for microstamping biomolecule gradients. Biomed. Microdevices 2, 255 2000
6Bhangale, S.M., Tjong, V., Wu, L., Yakovlev, N.Moran, P.M.: Biologically active protein gradients via microstamping. Adv. Mater. 17, 809 2005
7Huang, S.Ingber, D.E.: The structural and mechanical complexity of cell growth control. Nat. Cell Biol. 1, E131 1999
8Singhvi, R., Kumar, A., Lopez, G.P., Stephanopoulos, G.N., Wang, D.I.C., Whitesides, G.M.Ingber, D.E.: Engineering cell shape and function. Science 264, 696 1994
9Tien, J., Nelson, C.M.Chen, C.S.: Fabrication of aligned microstructures with a single elastomeric stamp. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 1758 2002
10Requicha, A.A.G.: Nanorobots, NEMS, and nanoassembly. Proc. IEEE 91, 1922 2003
11Sitti, M.Hashimoto, H.: Controlled pushing of nanoparticles: Modeling and experiments. IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics 5, 199 2000
12Vettiger, P., Cross, G., Despont, M., Drechsler, U., Durig, U., Gotsmann, B., Haberle, W., Lantz, M.A., Rothuizen, H.E., Stutz, R.Binnig, G.K.: The “millipede”—Nanotechnology entering data storage. IEEE Trans. Nanotechnol. 1, 39 2002
13Tafazzoli, A., Pawashe, C.Sitti, M.: Atomic force microscope based two-dimensional assembly of micro/nanoparticlesProc. IEEE Int. Sym. on Assembly and Task Planning,230 (2005)
14Pawashe, C.P.Sitti, M.: Two-dimensional vision-based autonomous microparticle assembly using nanoprobes. J. Micromechatronics 3, 285 2006
15Sitti, M.Hashimoto, H.: Two-dimensional fine particle positioning under optical microscope using a piezoresistive cantilever as a manipulator. J. Micromechatronics 1, 25 2000
16Whitesides, G.M., Ostuni, E., Takayama, S., Jiang, X.Ingber, D.E.: Soft lithography in biology and biochemistry. Ann. Rev. Biomed. Eng. 3, 335 2001
17Guo, L.J.: Recent progress in nanoimprint technology and its applications. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 37, R123 2004
18Cheng, C-M.Chen, R-H.: Experimental investigation of fabrication properties of electroformed Ni-based micro mould inserts. Microelectron. Eng. 75, 423 2004
19LeDuc, P., Ostuni, E., Whitesides, G.Ingber, D.: Use of micropatterned adhesive surfaces for control of cell behavior. Methods Cell Biol. 69, 385 2002
20Wilbur, J.L., Kim, E., Xia, Y.Whitesides, G.M.: Lithographic molding: A convenient route to structures with sub-micrometer dimensions. Adv. Mater. 7, 649 1995
21Johnson, K.L.: Contact Mechanics Cambridge University Press London, UK 1985
22Kuo, A.C.M.: Polymer Data Handbook Oxford University Press London, UK 1999



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed