Unconventional Soft-MEMS for deformable optics and micro-robotics
The adoption of soft polymeric materials has been impacting the field of microsystems for the past two decades, eventually establishing the new field of soft-MEMS. In recent years soft-MEMS researchers have gone beyond the use of only the softness to enter the stage of proactive exploitation of the materials' high-level deformability. Such efforts have not only produced bendable and stretchable versions of existing devices but also given birth to a variety of new devices relying critically on their morphological changes.
This talk will present recent examples of such "deformation-critical" soft-MEMS developed in the presenter's lab. His research has consistently revealed that PDMS, the flagship material for soft-MEMS, can be made surprisingly robust through the application of some unconventional fabrication techniques, despite the intrinsic softness of the material. The presenter has applied the new findings to the realization of deformable optics and micro-robotics, demonstrating upright PDMS micropillars with record-high aspect-ratios and self-aligned microsphere-capping capability and microscale pneumatic actuators capable of mimicking the multi-turn spiraling motion of the biological tentacle without relying on complicated, hard-to-fabricate substructures. Their applications as all-optical airflow-sensors and small, soft, and safe (S3) biomedical manipulator will also be demonstrated and discussed.
Jay Kim received his Ph.D. degree in EE from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2003 with thesis research on integrated optic and fiber-optic devices for lightwave transmission systems. For his postdoctoral study, he joined the BioPOETS research group of Professor Luke P. Lee in University of California at Berkeley where his research dealt with biomimetic optical systems and plasmonically engineered nanostructures. In 2006, he joined Electrical and Computer Engineering department of Iowa State University where he is currently an associate professor. His current research interests include plasmonics, bio-inspired microsystems, and soft-MEMS. Prof. Kim is the recipient of National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award (2010) and Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship (2009). He also received Warren B. Boast Undergraduate Teaching Award (2008) and Harpole-Pentair Developing Faculty Award (2009-2010).