Nanowire-based Chemical Connector for Miniature-Scale Applications

Tech ID: 18103 / UC Case 2009-107-0

Abstract

At millimeter dimensions or less, conventional mechanical, electrostatic, and magnetic connectors (e.g. buttons, zippers, Velcro, etc) encounter performance and reliability degradation that is problematic for applications that require specific binding of miniaturized components.  Moreover, while universal adhesives (e.g. tapes, glues, and synthetic gecko-inspired adhesives -- see B00-046) enable efficient binding at miniature dimensions, these universal adhesives don't support connector applications that need reversible and specific binding between components (as opposed to permanent and universal binding).

To address those needs, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new type of chemical connector based on nanowires.  The nanowire connectors enable highly specific and versatile binding of components, and they have unique properties that are tunable through composition control of the nanowire components. 

Suggested uses

Connector applications that require reversible and specific binding between miniature components.

Advantages

- Efficient binding at both micro- and macro-scale dimensions;

- Specific and versatile binding;

- Reusable;

- Tunable binding properties;

- High macroscopic shear adhesion strength;

- Minimal binding to non-self-similar surfaces;

- Anisotropic adhesion behavior;

Testing

Tests indicate that the innovative nanowire connectors exhibit high macroscopic shear adhesion strength (~163 N/cm^2), with minimal binding to non-self-similar surfaces, anisotropic adhesion behavior (shear to normal strength ratio ~25), reusability (~27 attach/detach cycles), and efficient binding for both micro- and macro-scale dimensions.

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Other Information

Keywords

nano

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