A skin-over-liquid platform with compliant microbumps actuated by pyro-EHD pressure

O. Gennari, R. Rega, M. Mugnano, E. Oleandro, L. Mecozzi, V. Pagliarulo, E. Mazzon, A. Bramanti, A. Vettoliere, C. Granata, P. Ferraro, S. Grilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The unique deformability and the compliance ability of thin sheets on soft substrates attract much interest for studying the phenomena related to elastic instabilities as well as for sensing very weak forces such as those generated by live cells in vitro. However, the techniques used currently for producing such platforms are affected by a high degree of complexity and poor repeatability. Moreover, their deformability is usually used as a passive response to the action of an external force. Herein we propose a novel concept for a reliable and dynamic skin-over-liquid system made of a periodic array of highly compliant microbumps actuated through electrode-free electrohydrodynamic (EHD) pressure. We demonstrate that these structures are highly repeatable and capable of swelling and deflating easily under a simple thermal stimulation driven by the pyroelectric effect, thus providing a challenging platform that can be actively controlled at the microscale. Furthermore, we show the proof of principle by swelling these microbumps for mechanically stimulating live cells in vitro, thus opening the route to more reliable and easy to accomplish assays in the field of mechanobiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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