Electrothermally activated SU-8 microgripper for single cell manipulation in solution

Nikolas Chronis, Luke P. Lee

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347 Scopus citations


The development of a SU-8-based microgripper that can operate in physiological ionic solutions is presented. The electrothermally activated polymer gripper consists of two "hot-and-cold-arm" actuators that are fabricated in a two-mask surface micromachining process. The high thermal expansion coefficient of SU-8 (52 ppm/°C) compared to silicon and metals, allows the actuation of the microgripper with small average temperature elevations (10 - 32 °C) at low voltages (1-2 V). The polymer microgripper can be used for the manipulation of single cells and other biological species in solution with minimal undesired interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-863
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received May 5, 2004; revised October 28, 2004. This work was supported by DARPA under the BioFlips program. Subject Editor N. de Rooij. The authors are with the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA (e-mail: lplee@socrates.berkeley.edu). Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JMEMS.2005.845445


  • Polymer MEMS
  • Polymer microgripper
  • SU-8 actuators
  • Single cell manipulation


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