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Some researchers have experimented with bio-inspired adhesion, but these systems are difficult to apply on an industrial scale. A way to temporarily adhere to surfaces during assembly would open up new methods of manufacturing for semiconductors, electronics, and other products.
A micro-scale composite structure is patterned using a stiff post surrounded by a compliant core. A contact surface made up of an array of these posts has strong adhesion in the normal direction but can be easily removed by applying a shear force. This makes manipulation of thin layers of delicate material possible, because no damaging handling forces are applied, and no residue is left behind.
Adhesive contact surfaces that use this method can easily be produced on a large scale, making this technology a practical solution as an applied process improvement.