Elasto-capillary folding using stop-programmable hinges fabricated by 3D micro-machining

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We show elasto-capillary folding of silicon nitride objects with accurate folding angles be- tween flaps of (70.6 ± 0.1)° and demonstrate the feasibility of such accurate micro-assembly with a final folding angle of 90°. The folding angle is defined by stop-programmable hinges that are fabricated starting from silicon molds employing accurate three-dimensional corner lithography. This nano-patterning method exploits the conformal deposition and the subse- quent timed isotropic etching of a thin film in a 3D shaped silicon template. The technique leaves a residue of the thin film in sharp concave corners which can be used as an inversion mask in subsequent steps. Hinges designed to stop the folding at 70.6° were fabricated batchwise by machining the V-grooves obtained by KOH etching in (110) silicon wafers; 90° stop-programmable hinges were obtained starting from silicon molds obtained by dry etch- ing on (100) wafers. The presented technique has potential to achieve any folding angle and opens a new route towards creating structures with increased complexity, which will ul- timately lead to a novel method for device fabrication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0125891
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2015


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