Microstereolithography: a review
Microstereolithography is a technology at the interface of the microengineering and rapid prototyping domains. It has evolved from the stereolithography technique, and is also based on a light-induced layer- stacking manufacturing, As the resolution of the microstereolithography technique is far better than the one of rapid prototyping technologies, this technique is of particular interest in the microengineering domain where its 3D capability allows the production of components no other microfabrication technique can create. The first developments of the microstereolithography technique have started in 1993 and different research teams have developed machines since, using different approaches. This paper reviews the major microstereolithography processes developed until now. Microstereolithography is starting to be a commercially available manufacturing process. As the market for miniaturized products grows rapidly, there is an increasing need for high-resolution small size prototype parts. If the production of small mechanical components is the first commercial application of microstereolithography, this technology can also produce useful components for the microrobotic, microfluidic, microsystems and biomedical fields. Current research in the microstereolithography field is focused on using ceramic composites as material to manufacture complex three-dimensional parts that can be sintered to produce pure alumina microcomponents.