The fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) microscale structures is critical for many applications, including strong and lightweight material development, medical device fabrication, microrobotics, and photonic applications. While 3D microfabrication has seen progress over the past decades, complex multicomponent integration with small or hierarchical feature sizes is still a challenge. In this study, an optical positioning and linking (OPAL) platform based on optical tweezers is used to precisely fabricate 3D microstructures from two types of micron-scale building blocks linked by biochemical interactions. A computer-controlled interface with rapid on-the-fly automated recalibration routines maintains accuracy even after placing many building blocks. OPAL achieves a 60-nm positional accuracy by optimizing the molecular functionalization and laser power. A two-component structure consisting of 448 1-µm building blocks is assembled, representing the largest number of building blocks used to date in 3D optical tweezer microassembly. Although optical tweezers have previously been used for microfabrication, those results were generally restricted to single-material structures composed of a relatively small number of larger-sized building blocks, with little discussion of critical process parameters. It is anticipated that OPAL will enable the assembly, augmentation, and repair of microstructures composed of specialty micro/nanomaterial building blocks to be used in new photonic, microfluidic, andmore »
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Assembly of multicomponent structures from hundreds of micron-scale building blocks using optical tweezers
Abstract Three-dimensional structure fabrication using discrete building blocks provides a versatile pathway for the creation of complex nanophotonic devices. The processing of individual components can generally support high-resolution, multiple-material, and variegated structures that are not achievable in a single step using top-down or hybrid methods. In addition, these methods are additive in nature, using minimal reagent quantities and producing little to no material waste. In this article, we review the most promising technologies that build structures using the placement of discrete components, focusing on laser-induced transfer, light-directed assembly, and inkjet printing. We discuss the underlying principles and most recent advances for each technique, as well as existing and future applications. These methods serve as adaptable platforms for the next generation of functional three-dimensional nanophotonic structures.