MRI project

The purpose of MRI project is development of the NeXus system, a novel instrument for automated flexible multiscale manufacturing of devices integrating Micro/Nano Opto Electro Mechanical Systems (MOEMS/NEMS). Nexus system will incorporate: precision robotic assembly, additive manufacturing, for fabrication and multiscale integration of miniature devices and systems, such as wearable MEMS sensor fabrics, microrobots for wafer scale microfactories, tactile robot skins, next generation energy storage, nanostructured plasmonic devices and biosensors.

The proposed instrument will have the flexibility to fixture, position, transport and assemble components across a wide-spectrum of dimension scales (100nm to 1m), and will provide unparalleled additive process capabilities such as 3D printing through both aerosol jetting and ultrasonic bonding and printing, thin film photonic sintering, fiber loom weaving and in-situ MEMS packaging and interconnect formation. The Nexus will automate basic processes such as additive deposition, sintering, assembly, and packaging leading to better control and consistency in development of micro/nanosystem prototypes.

Our instrument is located in the room 213 on the second floor of Shumaker Research Building, Belknap Campus. Nexus system includes the following components and subsystems:

  • 6 DOF Denso industrial robot VS-6577-B integrated with elevated XY gantry
  • 4 DOF Denso industrial robot HM-40A04 integrated with 1D Robot Transport Unit (RTU)
  • Custom 6 DOF positioner:
    • IAI long stroke motorized stage
    • Newport motorized stages: XYZ, tilt, and rotational.
  • Microassembly/inspection (microscopy) station
  • Optomec Decathlon Aerosol InkJet printing system
  • Customized FDM 3D printing system
  • Ultrasound FDM 3D printing station
  • Nordson Pico Pulse InkJet system
  • Xenon Corporation Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) system
  • Weaving (loom) station
  • Control system: workstation with National Instrument PXI controller

MRI project updates

  1. a) We have finalized the hardware assembly of the Nexus system robotics tools: industrial robots, custom 6 DOF positioner, microassembly/inspection station. Evaluation of the 6 DOF Denso industrial robot is currently being conducted.
  2. b) The Nexus team is also working on control solutions based on the NI PXI platform. At this moment our main effort is dedicated to the development of the user interface based on the NI Labview in order to realize integration of the additive manufacturing (Optomec Aerosol InkJet printer, Nordson Pico Pulse, custom FM 3D printer) and robotics tools (6 DOF positioner).
  3. c) We are preparing the assembly of another important part of the Nexus system – the custom pick and place station for the printed circuit board (PCB) assembly integrated with the 4 DOF Denso robot. Part of the Nexus team is in the process of ordering parts and developing a custom control scheme for the PCB assembly process realized with the 4 DOF robotic arm.


MRI project team

NSF MRI project website

Please visit the NSF MRI project website for complete details.

Selected publications

  • Wei, Danming, Hall, Mariah B., Sherehiy, Andriy, Popa, Dan “Design and Evaluation of Human-Machine Interface for NEXUS: A Custom Microassembly System”, Journal of Micro Nano Manufactuirng, under review, 2020
  • Zhang, Ruoshi and Klotz, Jordan F. and Wei, Danming and Yang, Zhong and Sherehiy, Andriy and Saadatzi, Mohammad N. and Popa, Dan O.. “SolarPede: a stick-and-slip, light-powered, Mobile micro-crawler,” Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics, v.16, 2020. doi:10.1007/s12213-020-00131-6
  • Ghahremani, Amir H. and Martin, Blake and Gupta, Alexander and Bahadur, Jitendra and Ankireddy, Krishnamraju and Druffel, Thad. “Rapid fabrication of perovskite solar cells through intense pulse light annealing of SnO2 and triple cation perovskite thin films,” Materials & Design, v.185, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2019.108237
  • Challa, S. S. and Islam, M. and Harnett, C.K.. “Fiber-Crawling Microrobots,” 2019 International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS), 2019. doi:10.1109/MARSS.2019.8860986
  • Saadatzi, Mohammad Nasser and Baptist, Joshua R. and Yang, Zhong O. and Popa, Dan. “Modeling and Fabrication of Scalable Tactile Sensor Arrays for Flexible Robot Skins,” IEEE Sensors Journal, v.19, 2019. doi:10.1109/JSEN.2019.2915362
  • Deshpande, Anagh and Tofangchi, Alireza and Hsu, Keng. “Microstructure evolution of Al6061 and copper during ultrasonic energy assisted compression,” Materials Characterization, v.153, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.matchar.2019.05.005
  • Tofangchi, Alireza and Han, Pu and Izquierdo, Julio and Iyengar, Adithya and Hsu, Keng. “Effect of Ultrasonic Vibration on Interlayer Adhesion in Fused Filament Fabrication 3D Printed ABS,” Polymers, v.11, 2019. doi:10.3390/polym11020315
  • Deshpande, Anagh and Tofangchi, Alireza and Hsu, Keng. “In-process Microstructure Tuning in Solid-State Ambient Condition Metal Direct Manufacturing,” Procedia Manufacturing, v.34, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2019.06.196
  • Han, Pu and Tofangchi, Alireza and Deshpande, Anagh and Zhang, Sihan and Hsu, Keng. “An approach to improve interface healing in FFF-3D printed Ultem 1010 using laser pre-deposition heating,” Procedia Manufacturing, v.34, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2019.06.195
  • Zhang, Ruoshi and Sherehiy, Andriy and Wei, Danming and Popa, Dan O.. “Design and characterization of solid articulated four axes microrobot for microfactory applications,” Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics, 2019. doi:10.1007/s12213-019-00118-y
  • Ankireddy, Krishnamraju and Ghahremani, Amir H. and Martin, Blake and Gupta, Gautam and Druffel, Thad. “Rapid thermal annealing of CH 3 NH 3 PbI 3 perovskite thin films by intense pulsed light with aid of diiodomethane additive,” Journal of Materials Chemistry A, v.6, 2018. doi:10.1039/c8ta01237g