This paper presents the design and fabrication of a novel chipscale micromanipulator with multiple fingers that can be independently actuated and coordinated to manipulate and assemble micro-scale objects within a predefined workspace on the chip. The manipulator chip has an overall footprint of 5 mm × 5 mm and the workspace area for micromanipulation is about 4600 μm2. The micromanipulator is integrated with tiny piezoelectric actuators and enclosed in a specially designed and precision machined compact housing, which has an overall size of 5 cm × 5 cm × 1.5 cm, to isolate the workspace area of the manipulator to minimize external disturbances. The topology and shape of the miltifingered micromanipulator chip were obtained through a systematic design optimization process maximizing the operating workspace of the micromanipulator, and a prototype was fabricated in silicon using the standard microfabrication processes. Preliminary experiments have confirmed the predicted behavior of the micromanipulator fingers as well as the feasibility of controlling multiple fingers to achieve a coordinated action to grasp a micro-scale object as commanded by the user.

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