C.1 Source Acquisition


I chose to explore the field of bioinspired dry adhesives. This field seeks to mimic the unique qualities of animals such as beetles, spiders, flies, and geckos to use thick pads of long hair to attach to any service.

My overarching question is: “How can animals create such strong reversible adhesion to a diversity of surfaces? How can engineers recreate the same adhesion strength, fiber durability, reusability, and adaptability to different surfaces?”

C.1.0) Source

To address the requirement "Identify one recent paper …. Cite it appropriately, using the References format found in the Wiki," I chose to use reference [1]. I chose this paper to focus on because it was the main inspiration for my question, and was found searching Scopus, Compendex, PubMed, and the ISI Web of Knowledge.

This is an overview of bioinspired attachment pads, quoting,

This review describes the progress in this field during the last few years and discusses the issues pending for the future.

C.1.1) Venue

This venue is clearly appropriate for the topic and of sufficient quality to be worth further reading.

Mission and Scope of Journal

The article under consideration was published in Macromolecular Bioscience. This journal states that it "is a leading journal at the intersection of polymer and materials sciences with life science and medicine."

Relative Impact Factor

In 2009, the ISI Journal Citation Report for Macromolecular Bioscience had an impact factor of 3.108. The journal is one of the top 5 biomaterials journals and one of the top 10 polymer journals.

Similarly, this journal is ranked 0.239 by the Scopus Journal Analyzer.

Additionally, as of 01/26/2011, reference [1] has the following number citations according to these scholarly databases:

* Scopus- 20 Citations
* ISI Web Of Science- 21 Citations
* PubMed- 1 Citation
* Google Scholar- 17 Citations

C.1.2) Authors

Both of the authors are reputable sources, with convincing Scopus citations. The first author listed is Aránzazu Del Campo, who has a Scopus h-index of 15. She heads the research group on “Active Surfaces and Materials” at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. The Max Planck Institute is the foremost basic research organization in Germany.

The second author listed is Eduard Arzt, who has a Scopus h-index of 36. He is a director at the Max Planck Institute, has received several awards, and was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Council of the Materials Research Society, and of an External Advisory Group to the EU Research Directorate in Brussels.

C.1.3) Source Identification Methods

Initial Search

Initially, I had no idea what topic I might be interested in working on. I searched "bioinspir* AND robo*" in Scopus, Google Scholar, PubMed, Engineering Village, and ISI Web of Knowledge. I looked through various papers before finding one on Gecko Adhesion on Scopus. Unfortunately, this paper had never been cited, and the first two authors but had an h-index of 0. Still, the topic interested me, so I searched "bioinspir* AND adhes*", and then "adhes* and gecko" and found several sources that seemed significantly more credible. My original 5 sources are [1] [2] [3] [4] and [5].

Librarian Consultation

When I contacted Doug McGee, he suggested that I was off to a good start but should maybe look into some more recent articles, and potentially some from conferences. He also suggested a sampling of articles, and the search: "dry adhesi* AND biomimetic OR bioinspired" potentially adding the term "robot*." I decided to take his advice to use sources [2] and [6], and to continue searching for more recent articles until I found source [7].

C.1.4) High Quality Bioinspired Robotics Contribution

Because source [1] is relevant and of satisfactory quality, I will now quote directly from the conclusion of the paper to show that the quality of adhesives found in nature cannot yet be recreated in robotics:

in spite of the great efforts, most of them still fall short of nature’s performance, mostly because of lower adhesion strength, fiber collapse after detachment, or limited adaptability and applicability to real (rough) surfaces.

C.1.5) General Robotics Literature

Source 1

Published in 2007, source [6] reveals progress in the field of bioinspired adhesives. This new adhesive seems to address issues of strength, reusability, and variety of surfaces. From the abstract I quote:

Here we report a hybrid biologically inspired adhesive consisting of an array of nanofabricated polymer pillars coated with a thin layer of a synthetic polymer that mimics the wet adhesive proteins found in mussel holdfasts. Wet adhesion of the nanostructured polymer pillar arrays increased nearly 15-fold when coated with mussel-mimetic polymer. The system maintains its adhesive performance for over a thousand contact cycles in both dry and wet environments. This hybrid adhesive, which combines the salient design elements of both gecko and mussel adhesives, should be useful for reversible attachment to a variety of surfaces in any environment.


This source was published in Nature, which in 2009 was the world's most highly cited interdisciplinary science journal, had an impact factor is 34.480, and ranked 8.016 on the Scopus Journal Analyzer. Nature's aims and scope are quotes as follows:

Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions. Nature also provides rapid, authoritative, insightful and arresting news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public.

Nature is definitely a worthwhile source.


The first author is Haeshin Lee, a professor at Northwestern University with an h-index of 16. The second author is Bruce P. Lee, who works at the Nerites Corporation, and has an h-index of 8. The final author is Phillip B. Messersmith, another professor at Northwestern, with an h-index of 23. All of these authors are reputable.

Source 2

Published in 2008, source [7] extends past [6] to evaluate the maximum adhesion of spider-inspired silicone fibers. Quoted:

The adhesion of the silicone fibres by themselves or attached to the macro foot is examined to determine best strategies for placement and removal of feet to maximize adhesion. Results demonstrate the successful integration of micro and macro compliant feet for use in climbing on a variety of surfaces. As explored bellow, this source, though more recent, might not have the same level of quality as source [1].


Started in 2004, the Journal of Bionic Engineering is a relatively new journal with an impact factor of .972 and a Scopus Journal Analysis of 0.060. While its numbers are not as high as a journal such as nature, I believe that this is a reflection on the age and subject matter of the journal, not of its quality. The aims and scope of this journal are as follows:

The Journal of Bionic Engineering publishes original research papers and reviews on all aspects of bionic science and engineering including fundamental understandings of animals and plants for bionic engineering, such as locomotion and behaviors of animals, structures,composites, morphology and physical properties of plants and natural materials, applications of such understandings in engineering, technology and designs.


The first author, Dan D. Sameoto has an h-index of 10, and is a professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada. The second author, Yasong Li, and final author, Carlo Menon are also professors at the same university, with h-indecies of 2 and 7 respectively.

C.1.6) Biology Literature

Source 1

Source [4] gives a theory on how the adhesion and detachment of geckos is possible, with a clear focus on the potential to create robotics inspired by these gecko properties. Here a relevant section of the abstract is quoted:

High net friction and adhesion forces on the whole gecko are obtained by rolling down and gripping the toes inward to realize small pulling angles θ between the large number of spatulae in contact with the substrate. To detach, the high adhesion/friction is rapidly reduced to a very low value by rolling the toes upward and backward, which, mediated by the lever function of the setal shaft, peels the spatulae off perpendicularly from the substrates. By these mechanisms, both the adhesion and friction forces of geckos can be changed over three orders of magnitude, allowing for the swift attachment and detachment during gecko motion. The results have obvious implications for the fabrication of dry adhesives and robotic systems inspired by the gecko's locomotion mechanism.


Source [4] was published in 2006, in the Journal of Experimental Biology which has an importance factor of 2.722 for 2009, an average importance factor over 5 years of 3.254, and a Scopus Journal Analyzer rating of .295. The Aims and scope of this journal is:

EB continues to publish papers on the form and function of living organisms at all levels of biological organisation, from the molecular and subcellular to the integrated whole animal. Our authors and readers reflect a broad interdisciplinary group of scientists who study molecular, cellular and organismal physiology in an evolutionary and environmental context.


Yu Hua Tian is first author, is affiliated with the Institute of Theoretical Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences, and has an h-index of 14. There are many other authors who are affiliated with other reputable universities such as Tulane, the University of Alberta, UCSB, the University of Waterloo in Canada, Johns Hopkins University, and Lewis and Clark College.

Source 2

In source [2], we how the model for gecko adhesion is re-evaluated, showing that scientists still cannot fully understand or best mother nature. Here the abstract is quoted:

We introduced a new model, frictional adhesion, for gecko pad attachment and compared it to existing models of adhesive contacts. In an analysis of clinging stability of a gecko on an inclined plane each adhesive model predicted a different force control strategy. The frictional adhesion model provides an explanation for the very low detachment forces observed in climbing geckos that does not depend on toe peeling.


This article was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, which has a Scopus Journal Analyzer rating of 2.376, and an importance factor of 9.432 (as of 2009). PNAS describes itself as follows:

Since its establishment in 1914, it continues to publish cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy. Coverage in PNAS spans the biological, physical, and social sciences.


Kellar Autumn is the first author of this journal article, and is a professor at Lewis and Clark College, with an h-index of 18. The other authors are also all affiliated with top Universities including Stanford and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

1. Del Campo, A., & Arzt, E. (2007). Design parameters and current fabrication approaches for developing bioinspired dry adhesives. Macromolecular Bioscience, 7(2), 118-127. Retrieved from
2. Autumn, K., Dittmore, A., Santos, D., Spenko, M., & Cutkosky, M. (2006). Frictional adhesion: A new angle on gecko attachment. Journal of Experimental Biology, 209(18), 3569-3579. Retrieved from
3. Sitti M (2003). Synthetic gecko foot-hair micro/nano-structures as dry adhesives. Journal of adhesion science and technology [0169-4243] Sitti yr:2003 vol:17 iss:8 pg:1055 -1073. Retrieved from (Inspec)
4. Tian, Yu et al., Adhesion and friction in gecko toe attachment and detachment (2006). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [0027-8424] Tian yr:2006 vol:103:51 pg:19320 -19325. Retrieved from
5. Autumn K, Liang YA, Hsieh ST, Zesch W, Chan WP, Kenny TW, Fearing R, Full RJ (2000). Adhesive force of a single gecko foot-hair. Nature [0028-0836] Autumn yr:2000 vol:405 iss:6787 pg:681 -685. Retrieved from
6. Lee, H., Lee, B. P., & Messersmith, P. B. (2007). A reversible wet/dry adhesive inspired by mussels and geckos. Nature, 448(7151), 338-341. Retrieved from
7. Sameoto, D., Li, Y., & Menon, C. (2008). Multi-scale compliant foot designs and fabrication for use with a spider-inspired climbing robot. Journal of Bionic Engineering, 5(3), 189-196. Retrieved from (Compendex)