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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 Oct 23;5(20):10137-44. doi: 10.1021/am402815x. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Controllable interfacial adhesion applied to transfer light and fragile objects by using gecko inspired mushroom-shaped pillar surface.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University , Beijing 100084, China.


Gecko-inspired surfaces are smart dry adhesive surfaces that have attracted much attention because of their wide range of potential applications. However, strong frictional force, rather than adhesive force, is frequently targeted in most of research in this area. In this study, the interfacial adhesive and frictional properties of a gecko-inspired mushroom-shaped polyurethane pillar array surface have been systematically characterized to design and control the interfacial adhesion of the surface by considering the nanoscale interfacial adhesion, the microscale structural compliance and deformation, and the macro-scale actuation. Matching the movement of the leg springs and the interfacial adhesive characteristics between the pillar array surfaces and substrates, a three-legged clamp prototype has been designed and fabricated to successfully pick up and release light and fragile objects with a smooth upper surface, such as a silicon wafer. These results provide a new insight into not only the theoretical understanding of the integrating adhesion mechanisms, but also the practical applications of utilizing and controlling the adhesive and frictional forces of gecko-inspired surfaces.

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