3D printing (also called “additive manufacturing” or “rapid prototyping”) is able to translate computer-aided and designed virtual 3D models into 3D tangible constructs/objects through a layer-by-layer deposition approach. Since its introduction, 3D printing has aroused enormous interest among researchers and engineers to understand the fabrication process and composition-structure-property correlation of printed 3D objects and unleash its great potential for application in a variety of industrial sectors. Because of its unique technological advantages, 3D printing can definitely benefit the field of microrobotics and advance the design and development of functional microrobots in a customized manner. This review aims to present a generic overview of 3D printing for functional microrobots. The most applicable 3D printing techniques, with a focus on laser-based printing, are introduced for the 3D microfabrication of microrobots. 3D-printable materials for fabricating microrobots are reviewed in detail, including photopolymers, photo-crosslinkable hydrogels, and cell-laden hydrogels. The representative applications of 3D-printed microrobots with rational designs heretofore give evidence of how these printed microrobots are being exploited in the medical, environmental, and other relevant fields. A future outlook on the 3D printing of microrobots is also provided.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
J. L. gratefully thanks the financial support from the European Structural and Investment Funds, OP RDE-funded project ?CHEMFELLS IV? (No. CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/20_079/0017899). M. P. was supported by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Czech Republic) grant LL2002 under ERC CZ program.
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes