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Current top down manipulation systems used in micro and nanomanufacturing are many orders of magnitude larger than the parts being handled, leading to difficult tradeoffs between their precision, throughput and cost. This paper presents recent research progress in the manufacturing of millimeter sized robotic positioning technology that allows combining high precision with high throughput along with other application-specific requirements such as strength, dexterity, and work volume. The first robot type is the ARRIpede microcrawler, and we describe recent progress in microrobot packaging and backpack electronics leading to its untethered operation. Precision measurements describing the ARRIpede motion resolution and repeatability are reported. The second microrobot called the Articulated Four Axes Microrobot (AFAM) is a 3D dexterous micromanipulator robot, and we describe nanoindentation experiments using SPM tips mounted on the microrobot. By combining positioning data obtained using laser interferometers and SEM imaging of nanoindentation data, precision metrics such as accuracy, repeatability and resolution of the AFAM robot are determined. Using these two microrobots as basic positioning and manipulation units, we propose a concept for a nanoassembly module, or a so-called wafer-level factory.
Date of Conference: 3-7 May 2010