Approaches to Assembly of Small Threedimensional Objects

All of the small objects mentioned so far have been essentially planar. Computer chips have several layers of wiring built up sequentially, but they are essentially planar. The same is true of the MEMS (microelectromechanical) devices based on the semiconductor technology. There are many uses for such devices, of course, but the impact of a fully three-dimensional approach would be very positive.

This situation has been lucidly stated by G. M. Whitesides [31] "The fabrication of microstructures is one of the most pervasive of modern technologies. Almost all microfabrication is now based on photolithography and its dependent technologies, and the dominance of this family of technologies is genuinely remarkable. Photolithography is intrinsically planar, although it can, with difficulty, be induced to produce certain types of nonplanar structures. The development of flexible, economical methods that would have the power of lithography, but would build 3D microstructures, would open the door to a host of applications in microfluidic systems, MEMS, optical devices, and structural systems "

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