This thesis presents serial pick and place assembly of microstructures, fabricated in a simple single mask SOI process, as an approach for the manufacture of complicated microstructures. Two techniques for pick and place microassembly and design of microparts which can be used with either of these two assembly approaches are presented. The techniques are designed to be simple and robust so that they can be extended to an automated assembly-line style manufacturing approach. Distinctive aspects of this work are the assembly of microparts into mechanically rigid sockets and the low contact resistance of the assemblies. Out-of-plane motion of assembled microstructures, assembly of hybrid microsystems and other applications of this assembly process are also discussed.
As another example of serial assembly, initial work is demonstrated towards the realization of a silicon robot which can extrude a strut and climb along it. A silicon spinneret is demonstrated which can assemble together silicon connectors to form a silicon strut and then extrude it out. Finally, a few ideas for the future development of such a silicon spider are presented.