Robotics can use optics feedback in vision-based control of intelligent robotic guidance systems. With light’s miniscule momentum, shrinking robots down to the microscale regime creates opportunities for exploiting optical forces and torques in microrobotic actuation and control. Indeed, the literature on optical trapping and micromanipulation attests to the possibilities for optical microrobotics. This work presents an optical microrobotics perspective on the optical microfabrication and micromanipulation work that we performed. We designed different three-dimensional microstructures and fabricated them by two-photon polymerization. These microstructures were then handled using our biophotonics workstation (BWS) for proof-of-principle demonstrations of optical actuation, akin to 6DOF actuation of robotic micromanipulators. Furthermore, we also show an example of dynamic behavior of the trapped microstructure that can be achieved when using static traps in the BWS. This can be generalized, in the future, towards a structural shaping optimization strategy for optimally controlling microstructures to complement approaches based on lightshaping. We also show that light channeled to microfabricated, free-standing waveguides can be used not only to redirect light for targeted delivery of optical energy but can also for targeted delivery of optical force, which can serve to further extend the manipulation arms in optical robotics. Moreover, light deflection with waveguide also creates a recoil force on the waveguide, which can be exploited for controlling the optical force.
Proceedings of Spie, the International Society for Optical Engineering, 2012, Vol 8458
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2012 Optics+Photonics : Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation IX, 2012