Micromanipulators for coordinated manipulation of micro- and nano-scale objects are critical for advancing several emerging applications such as microassembly and manipulation of biological cells. Most of existing designs for micromanipulators accomplish either primarily microgripping or primarily micropositioning tasks, and relatively, only a very few are capable of accomplishing both microgripping and micropositioning, however, they are generally bulky. This paper presents conceptualization, design, fabrication and experimental characterization a novel micromanipulation station for coordinated planar manipulation combining both gripping and positioning of micro- and nano-scale objects. Conceptually, the micromanipulation station is comprised of multiple, independently actuated, fingers capable of coordinating with each other to accomplish the manipulation and assembly of micron-scale objects within a small workspace. A baseline design is accomplished through a systematic design optimization of each finger maximizing the workspace area of the manipulation station using the optimization toolbox in MATLAB. The device is micromachined on a SOI (silicon-on-insulator) wafer using the DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etching) process. The device prototype is experimentally characterized for the output displacement characteristics of each finger for known input displacements applied through manual probing. An excellent correlation between the experimental results and the theoretical results obtained through a finite element analysis in ANSYS software, which validates both the design and the fabrication of the proof-of-the-concept, is demonstrated.

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