Soft/Wet microrobotics


Soft/Wet microrobotics researches are developed along 3 axis: fluidic or capillary microrobotics (based on physics of fluids),  soft microrobotics (based on elasticity and materials) and microfabrication. Our work is devoted to answering scientific questions relate to physics of fluids and materials. Our methods relate to mechanical engineering: modelling and simulation, manufacturing (down to 200nm), design, dynamics and control, experimental force measurement (down to 1nN). The applications fields cover micromanipulation, drug delivery, medical devices, industrial micro-assembly.

Building on advances in miniaturization and soft matter, surface tension effects are a major key to the development of soft/fluidic microrobotics. Capillary effects benefit from scaling, and surface tension of liquid provides structural properties, actuation, adhesion, confinement and compliance, which are all functions necessary in micro and nanosystems. Various applications are under development: microfluidic and LOC devices, soft gripping and manipulation of particles, colloidal and interfacial assemblies, fluidic/droplet mechatronics. The capillary action is ubiquitous in drops, bubbles and menisci, opening a broad spectrum of technological solutions and scientific investigations. 

Identified grand challenges to the emergence of fluidic microrobotics include speeding up the process (how to master the dynamics of surface tension effects?), the mastering of the hysteresis arising from wetting and evaporation, the improvement of dispensing and handling of tiny droplets, to develop a mechatronics approach for the control of surface tension effects.

Our microfabrication facilities involve world-class equipment such as Nanoscribe Photonics GT, as well as simple 3D printers for rapid prototyping. These pieces of equipment are operated among the MicroMilli platform.


Selected publications

Dehaeck, S., Scheid, B., & Lambert, P. Adaptive stitching for meso-scale printing with two-photon lithography. Additive Manufacturing, 21, 589-597. 2018

Gernay, S.M., Labousse, S., Lambert, P., Compère, P., & Gilet, T. Multi-scale tarsal adhesion kinematics of freely-walking dock beetles. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 14 (136), art. no. 20170493. 2017 

Blanc, L., Delchambre, A., & Lambert, P. Flexible medical devices: Review of controllable stiffness solutions. Actuators, 6(3), art. no. 23. 2017 

Ribaut, C., Loyez, M., Larrieu, J.-C., Chevineau, S., Lambert, P., Remmelink, M., Wattiez, R., & Caucheteur, C. Cancer biomarker sensing using packaged plasmonic optical fiber gratings: Towards in vivo diagnosis. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 92, 449-456. 2017

Mallea, R.T., Bolopion, A., Beugnot, J.-C., Lambert, P., & Gauthier, M. Laser-Induced thermocapillary convective flows: A new approach for noncontact actuation at microscale at the fluid/gas interface. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 22(2), 693-704. 2017

Mastrangeli, M., Zhou, Q., Sariola, V., & Lambert, P. Surface tension-driven self-alignment. Soft Matter, 13(2), 304-327. 2017

Wang, J.-P., Gallo, E., François, B., Gabrieli, F., & Lambert, P. Capillary force and rupture of funicular liquid bridges between three spherical bodies. Powder Technology, 305, 89-98. 2017

Hellegouarch, S., Fueyo Roza, L., Artoos, K., Lambert, P., & Collette, C. Linear encoder based low frequency inertial sensor. International Journal of Optomechatronics, 10, 120-129. 2016

Matsuoka, H., Kanda, T., Wakimoto, S., Suzumori, K., & Lambert, P. Development of a rubber soft actuator driven with gas/liquid phase change. International Journal of Automation Technology, 10(4), 517-524. 2016


  • FEMTOPRINT project

    Glass-based optomicromechatronics.

    Funded by the FNRS
  • SWIMMERS project

    Thermo-magneto-capillary self-assembly.

    Funded by the FNRS
  • PhD Thesis of Loïc Blanc

    Controllable stiffness mechanisms for endoscopic catheter.

    Funded by the FNRS
  • NANOSCRIBE project

    3D microstructuration and microengineering of surfaces with 2 photon lithography.

    Funded by the FNRS