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Coupling Effects in Re-Programmable Micro-Matter

Programmable matter (PM) is a new emerging concept that is based on self-folding origami. Origami refers to a variety of techniques of transforming planar sheets into three-dimensional (3D) structures by folding, which has been introduced in science and engineering for, e.g., assembly and robotics. In principle, 2D pattern consisting of various materials can be transferred into any 3D pattern. The underlying idea of PM is to create a programmable material that can be shaped on demand reversibly and in different ways in order to perform multiple tasks. The initial planar system is composed of interconnected sections (tiles) that self-fold into a set of predetermined shapes using embedded actuators and magnetic latching. Thus, multiple 3D shapes with multiple functions can be realized. Current demonstrators use unidirectional actuators, consisting of a thin foil of the one-way shape memory alloy (SMA) Nitinol. Therefore, resetting to the initial planar state has to be performed manually before folding can be repeated. This concept has been demonstrated at the macro scale and the scalability of the current technology approach is limited to the size of tiles of several mm. Here, we propose to transfer this concept into microtechnology by combining state-of-the art methods of micromachining, multifunctional materials as well as coupled simulation. As manual resetting will not be possible at the microscale, cooperative bi-directional actuation will be introduced, allowing for large bending angles up to ±180°. Further challenges are the selective multistable latching and release of many tiles at the micro scale. Cooperation of both mechanisms will be needed to transform from flat shape to various specific 3D shapes and back to the flat shape by autonomous unfolding. Therefore, this project intends to develop a multistage multistable system of SMA and magnetic microactuators. This new concept of re-programmable micro matter will enable formation and multistage adaptation of 3D shape at different length scales as well as reusability by reversible active unfolding. A monolithic fabrication route will be essential to realize many tiles with high integration density.The development of the methods and tools for re-programmable micro matter requires an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, this project combines the expertise from functional films (S. Fähler), microsystems (M. Kohl) and system simulation (F. Wendler).  

Privatdozent Dr. Sebastian Fähler

Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper- und Werkstoffforschung Dresden (IFW) e.V.
Institut für Metallische Werkstoffe
Helmholtzstraße 20
01069 Dresden

Telefon: +49 351 4659-588
Telefax: +49 351 4659-9-588

E-Mail: s faehler does-not-exist.ifw-dresden de



Professor Dr. Manfred Kohl

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Institut für Mikrostrukturtechnik
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen

Telefon: +49 721 60822798

E-Mail: manfred kohl does-not-exist.kit edu



Dr. Frank Wendler

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Department Werkstoffwissenschaften
Lehrstuhl für Werkstoffsimulation
Dr.-Mack-Straße 77
90762 Fürth

Telefon: +49 911 6507865067
Telefax: +49 911 6507865066

E-Mail: frank wendler does-not-exist.fau de