Tweezing MEMS

A set of micro-tweezers developed by scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, could be used to build components for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Team leader Cagri Savran explains that the tweezers can be used to manipulate tiny polystyrene spheres and assemble them into three-dimensional structures. The device, which requires no electricity supply, comprises a "thimble" knob from a standard micrometer, a two-pronged tweezer made from silicon, and a "graphite interface," which converts the turning motion of the thimble knob into a pulling-and-pushing action to open and close the tweezer prongs. The same tweezers might also be used to handle spheres of stem cells or other biological entities and place them on to analytical devices or sensors.