Microscale Freeform Integration by Directed Self Assembly
Most solid freeform fabrication (SFF) manufacturing processes assemble uniform components such as powder particles or polymer chains to produce desired geometries. Their capacity for producing highly functional parts (integrated actuation, sensing, and electronics) will dramatically increase when multiple materials and functional subcomponents can be automatically integrated. This paper addresses criteria for a system that integrates multiple materials and components through computer-controlled self-assembly. It builds complex systems from layers of self-assembled micro-components. The paper will address implementation methods, present a concept demonstration, and consider its application to micro-thermoelectric systems. This manufacturing process can be enhanced further through integration with mature additive processes.