(a) A gecko body and the hierarchical structures on its toes;（b）Inspection robot (in the red circle) using gecko-inspired adhesive feet outside the spacecraft (an artist concept); (c) Influence of sliding direction and sliding distance on adhesion of wedge-structured gecko-inspired adhesives in vacuum; (d) Demonstration of gecko-inspired gripper manipulating the silicon wafer in vacuum.
In the past, the fabrication of gecko-inspired surfaces is mostly related to chemistry and were usually classified into two types: (i) etching and casting, namely casting the polymer into an etched mold and then demolding; (ii) gas phase growth, such as CVD growth of nanotube or nanowire arrays. However, these methods are complicated, inefficient and never cost-effective, which has greatly hampered the applications of gecko- inspired surfaces in engineering. In order to deal this problem, Prof. Yu Tian et al. proposed an ultraprecision method based on diamond cutting to fabricate the molds of wedge-structured gecko-inspired surfaces. By a simple demolding process, the gecko-inspired surface with fine wedged structures can be achieved. Based on flexible control of the adhesion and friction of the wedge-structured gecko-inspired surfaces, a gecko-inspired gripper successfully demonstrates the process of picking up, holding, and releasing of silicon wafers both in atmospheric conditions and in vacuum.
Prof. Yu Tian is the corresponding author. Ph.D student Dashuai Tao is the first author. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Beijing Natural Science Foundation.
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