Skip to main content

Multi-material microstereolithography


We have previously described the development of a microstereolithography (µSL) system using a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) for dynamic pattern generation and an ultraviolet (UV) lamp filtered at 365 nm for crosslinking a photoreactive polymer solution. The µSL system was designed with xy resolution of approximately 2 µm and a vertical (z) resolution of approximately 1 µm (with practical build limitations on vertical resolution of approximately 30 µm due to limitations on controlling UV penetration in z). The developed µSL system is capable of producing real three-dimensional (3D) microstructures, which can be employed in applications such as microfluidics, tissue engineering, and various functional microsystems. Many benefits will potentially be derived from producing multiple material microstructures in µSL, and one particular application area of interest is in producing multi-material microscaffolds for tissue engineering. In the present work, a method for multi-material µSL fabrication was developed using a syringe pump system to add a material to a small, removable vat designed specifically for the multi-material µSL system. Multi-material fabrication was accomplished using a material changeover process that included manually removing the vat, draining the current material, rinsing the vat, returning the vat to the system, and finally dispensing a prescribed volume in the vat using the syringe pump. Layer thicknesses of approximately 30 µm were achieved using this process. To demonstrate this system, several multi-material microstructures were produced to highlight the capability of this promising technology for fabricating 3D functional, multi-material microstructures with spatial control over placement of both material and structure.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Ikuta K, Kirowatari K (1993) Real three dimensional micro fabrication using stereo lithography and metal molding. Proceedings of the 6th IEEE Workshop on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS’93), New York, pp 42–47

  2. Zissi S, Bertsch A, Jézéquel JY, Corbel S, Lougnot DJ, André JC (1996) Stereolithography and microtechniques. Microsystem Technologies 2(2):97–102

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bertsch A, Zissi S, Jézéquel JY, Corbel S, André JC (1997) Microstereophotolithography using a liquid crystal display as dynamic mask-generator. Microsystem Technologies 3(2):42–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bertsch A, Bernhard P, Vogt P, Renaud P (2000) Rapid prototyping of small size objects. Rapid Prototyping J 6(4):259–266

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bertsch A, Zissi S, Jézéquel JY, Corbel S, André JC (2001) Microstereolithography: concepts and applications. Proceedings of the 8th IEEE International conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation, pp 289–298

  6. Bertsch A, Jiguet S, Renaud P (2004) Microfabrication of ceramic components by microstereolithography. J micromechanics microengineering 14:197–203

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Sun C, Zhang X (2002) Experimental and numerical investigations on microstereolithography of ceramics. J Appl Physi 92(8):4796–4802

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Lee IH, Cho DW (2003) Micro-stereolithography photopolymer solidification patterns for various laser beam exposure conditions. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 22:410–416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Kang HY, Lee IH, Cho DW (2004) Development of an assembly-free process based on virtual environment for fabricating 3D microfluidic systems using microstereolithography technology. J Manuf Sci Eng 126:766–771

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Sun C, Fang N, Wu DM, Zhang X (2005) Projection micro-stereolithography using digital micro-mirror dynamic mask. Sens Actuators A: Phys 121(1):113–120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Choi JW, Ha YM, Lee SH, Choi KH (2006) Design of microstereolithography system based on dynamic image projection for fabrication of three-dimensional microstructures. J Mech Sci Technol 20(12):2094–2104

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Choi JW, Wicker RB, Cho SH, Ha CS, Lee SH (2009) Cure depth control for complex 3D microstructure fabrication in dynamic mask projection microstereolithography. Rapid Prototyping J 15(1):59–70

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Choi JW, Wicker RB, Lee SH, Choi KH, Ha CS, Chung I (2009) Fabrication of 3D biocompatible/biodegradable micro-scaffolds using dynamic mask projection microstereolithography. J Mater Process Technol 209:5494–5503

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Lee SJ, Kang HW, Kang TY, Kim B, Lim G, Rhie JW, Cho DW (2007) Development of a scaffold fabrication system using an axiomatic approach. J Micromechanics Microengineering 17:147–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Limaye AS, Rosen DW (2007) Process planning method for mask projection micro-stereolithography. Rapid Prototyping J 13(2):76–84

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Han LH, Mapili G, Chen S, Roy K (2008) Projection microfabrication of three-dimensional scaffolds for tissue engineering. J Manuf Sci Eng 130(2):021005-1–021005-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Ha YM, Choi JW, Lee SH (2008) Mass production of 3-D microstructures using projection microstereolithography. J Mech Sci Technol 22(3):514–521

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Park IB, Choi JW, Ha YM, Lee SK (2009) Multiple fabrications of sacrificial layers to enhance the dimensional accuracy of microstructures in maskless projection microstereolithography. Int J Precis Eng Manuf 10(1):91–98

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Arcaute K, Zuverza N, Mann B, Wicker R (2007) Multi-material stereolithography: spatially-controlled bioactive poly(ethylene glycol) scaffolds for tissue engineering. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, pp 458–469

  20. Arcaute K, Mann BK, Wicker RB (2009) Stereolithography of spatially-controlled multi-material bioactive poly(ethylene glycol) scaffolds. Acta Biomaterialia. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2009.08.017

  21. Wicker RB, Medina F, Elkins CJ (2004) Multiple material micro-fabrication: extending stereolithography to tissue engineering and other novel application. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Solid Freeform fabrication Symposium, Austin, pp 754–764

  22. Inamdar A, Magana M, Medina F, Grajeda Y, Wicker R (2006) Development of an automated multiple material stereolithography machine. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, pp 624–635

  23. Maruo S, Ikuta K, Ninagawa T (2001) Multi-polymer microstereolithography for hybrid opto-MEMS. Proceedings of the 14th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS 2001), pp 151–154

  24. Varadan VK, Jiang X, Varadan VV (2001) Microstereolithography and other fabrication techniques for 3D MEMS. Wiley, West Sussex

    Google Scholar 

  25. Arcaute K, Mann BK, Wicker RB (2006) Stereolithography of three-dimensional bioactive poly(ethylene glycol) constructs with encapsulated cells. Ann Biomed Eng 24(9):1429–1441

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Jacobs PF (1993) Rapid prototyping and manufacturing: fundamentals of stereolithography. McGraw-Hills, New York

    Google Scholar 

  27. Wu D, Fang N, Sun C, Zhang X (2002) Adhesion force of polymeric three-dimensional microstructures fabricated by microstereolithography. Appl Phys Lett 81(21):3963–3965

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Wu D, Fang N, Sun C, Zhang X (2006) Stiction problems in releasing of 3D microstructures and its solution. Sens Actuators A 128:109–115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Wu DM (2005) Micro fabrication of 3D structures and characterization of molecular machine, Ph.D. Dissertation, UCLA, Los Angeles

  30. Chen S, Han LH (2009) Equipment and method for heterogeneous, 3D fabrications at micro-meter scales. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin

  31. Lozoya OA (2005) Development and demonstration of a multiple material stereolithography system, MS thesis, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jae-Won Choi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Choi, JW., MacDonald, E. & Wicker, R. Multi-material microstereolithography. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 49, 543–551 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Microstereolithography (µSL)
  • Multi-material fabrication
  • 3D microstructures
  • Additive manufacturing (AM)