Enhanced adhesion by gecko-inspired hierarchical fibrillar adhesives

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2009 Apr;1(4):849-55. doi: 10.1021/am8002439.


The complex structures that allow geckos to repeatably adhere to surfaces consist of multilevel branching fibers with specialized tips. We present a novel technique for fabricating similar multilevel structures from polymer materials and demonstrate the fabrication of arrays of two- and three-level structures, wherein each level terminates in flat mushroom-type tips. Adhesion experiments are conducted on two-level fiber arrays on a 12-mm-diameter glass hemisphere, which exhibit both increased adhesion and interface toughness over one-level fiber samples and unstructured control samples. These adhesion enhancements are the result of increased surface conformation as well as increased extension during detachment.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Adhesives / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Crystallization / methods
  • Lizards / metabolism*
  • Materials Testing
  • Polyurethanes / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Adhesives
  • Polyurethanes