15 April 2016 Switchable adhesion for wafer-handling based on dielectric elastomer stack transducers
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Abstract
Vacuum grippers are often used for the handling of wafers and small devices. In order to evacuate the gripper, a gas flow is created that can harm the micro structures on the wafer. A promising alternative to vacuum grippers could be adhesive grippers with switchable adhesion. There have been some publications of gecko-inspired adhesive devices. Most of these former works consist of a structured surface which adheres to the object manipulated and an actuator for switching the adhesion. Until now different actuator principles have been investigated, like smart memory alloys and pneumatics. In this work for the first time dielectric elastomer stack transducers (DEST) are combined with a structured surface. DESTs are a promising new transducer technology with many applications in different industry sectors like medical devices, human-machine-interaction and soft robotics. Stacked dielectric elastomer transducers show thickness contraction originating from the electromechanical pressure of two compliant electrodes compressing an elastomeric dielectric when a voltage is applied. Since DESTs and the adhesive surfaces previously described are made of elastomers, it is self-evident to combine both systems in one device. The DESTs are fabricated by a spin coating process. If the flat surface of the spinning carrier is substituted for example by a perforated one, the structured elastomer surface and the DEST can be fabricated in one process. By electrical actuation the DEST contracts and laterally expands which causes the gecko-like cilia to adhere on the object to manipulate. This work describes the assembly and the experimental results of such a device using switchable adhesion. It is intended to be used for the handling of glass wafers.
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T. Grotepaß, J. Butz, F. Förster-Zügel, H. F. Schlaak, "Switchable adhesion for wafer-handling based on dielectric elastomer stack transducers", Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97983B (15 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2220771; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2220771
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