This work presents the design, fabrication and testing of a thermally actuated microgripper for the manipulation of single cells and other biological particles. This microgripper has been fabricated with a particular combination of surface micromachining techniques that permit the release of stress-free polymer (SU8)/metal (Au) structures without the use of sacrificial layers. The inclusion of novel thermal actuators, which completely eliminate the parasitic resistance of the cold arm, improves considerably the efficiency of the system and therefore enables large displacements at low input voltages and operating temperatures. Two types of microgripper have been fabricated and tested producing displacements of up to 262 ?m at 1.94 V input voltage and 78 mW power. Micromanipulation experiments have successfully demonstrated the gripping, holding and positioning of a micro-sized object.