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Switch and stick

Switch and stick

The chemical element gallium could be used as a new reversible adhesive that allows its adhesive effect to be switched on and off with ease

Some adhesives may soon have a metallic sheen and be particularly easy to unstick. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are suggesting gallium as just such a reversible adhesive. By inducing slight changes in temperature, they can control whether a layer of gallium sticks or not. This is based on the fact that gallium transitions from a solid state to a liquid state at around 30 degrees Celsius. A reversible adhesive of this kind could have applications everywhere that temporary adhesion is required, such as industrial pick-and-place processes, transfer printing, temporary wafer bonding, or for moving sensitive biological samples such as tissues and organs. Switchable adhesion could also be suitable for use on the feet of climbing robots.


pi Metin Sitti
Metin Sitti
pi Zhou Ye
Zhou Ye
Current Position: Senior Researcher at Intuitive Surgical, San Francisco, USA
pi Guo Zhan Lum
Guo Zhan Lum
pi Sukho Song
Sukho Song
Current Position: Post-doc Fellow at EPFL, Switzerland