Capillary self-alignment of microchips on soft substrates

Bo Chang*, Quan Zhou, Zhigang Wu, Zhenhua Liu, Robin H A Ras, Klas Hjort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


Soft micro devices and stretchable electronics have attracted great interest for their potential applications in sensory skins and wearable bio-integrated devices. One of the most important steps in building printed circuits is the alignment of assembled micro objects. Previously, the capillary self-alignment of microchips driven by surface tension effects has been shown to be able to achieve high-throughput and high-precision in the integration of micro parts on rigid hydrophilic/superhydrophobic patterned surfaces. In this paper, the self-alignment of microchips on a patterned soft and stretchable substrate, which consists of hydrophilic pads surrounded by a superhydrophobic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) background, is demonstrated for the first time. A simple process has been developed for making superhydrophobic soft surface by replicating nanostructures of black silicon onto a PDMS surface. Different kinds of PDMS have been investigated, and the parameters for fabricating superhydrophobic PDMS have been optimized. A self-alignment strategy has been proposed that can result in reliable self-alignment on a soft PDMS substrate. Our results show that capillary self-alignment has great potential for building soft printed circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Pages (from-to)1-9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Capillary self-alignment
  • Hydrophilic/superhydrophobic patterned surfaces
  • Soft micro devices
  • Stretchable electronics
  • Superhydrophobic PDMS

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