PITTSBURGH - Carnegie Mellon University's Metin Sitti received the 2011
Nano-engineering Award from SPIE - the international society for optics and
photonics for his work on devices that can manipulate objects on a molecular
"This is a new field of robotics, and I'm honored to receive the award,"
said Sitti, director of the NanoRobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon.
Sitti's research is leading to the development of nanorobots - robots
smaller than the width of a human hair. The medical field wants the robots
for health care, and the Department of Defense is interested in highly
sensitive sensors created by Sitti's nanoengineering.
"The recognition is so well deserved by such a talented and innovative
researcher," said Nadine Aubry, the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor
and head of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. "Carnegie Mellon is
noted for leading-edge research, and Professor Sitti is the epitome of our
problem-solving, thinking-outside-the-box environment."
Sitti also is using his work with geckos to inspire new methods to print
electronics on complex surfaces. Along with a team of researchers
nationwide, Sitti has developed a reversible adhesion method for printing
electronics on a swath of complex surfaces, such as clothing, plastics and
leather. The team designed a square polymer stamp with pyramid micro-tips
that allows them to control adhesion strength. Like geckos, which are
wizards at sticking to any kind of surface, the new polymer stamp also
features a distinct adhesive quality.
"We are developing breakthroughs that will have long-range applications for
both commercial and industrial use," Sitti said.
The award was given April 28 during SPIE's Defense, Security, and Sensing
conference in Orlando.