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  1. Abstract

    Microscale machines are able to perform a number of tasks like micromanipulation, drug‐delivery, and noninvasive surgery. In particular, microscale polymer machines that can perform intelligent work for manipulation or transport, adaptive locomotion, or sensing are in‐demand. To achieve this goal, shape‐morphing smart polymers like hydrogels, liquid crystalline polymers, and other smart polymers are of great interest. Structures fabricated by these materials undergo mechanical motion under stimulation such as temperature, pH, light, and so on. The use of these materials renders microscale machines that undergo complex stimuli‐responsive transformation such as from planar to 3D by combining spatial design like introducing in‐plane or out‐plane differences. During the past decade, many techniques have been developed or adopted for fabricating structures with smart polymers including microfabrication methods and the well‐known milestone of 4D printing, starting in 2013. In this review, the existing or potential active smart polymers that could be used to fabricate active microscale machines to accomplish complex tasks are summarized.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 31, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  4. In the last decade, 3D printing has attracted significant attention and has resulted in benefits to many research areas. Advances in 3D printing with smart materials at the microscale, such as hydrogels and liquid crystalline polymers, have enabled 4D printing and various applications in microrobots, micro-actuators, and tissue engineering. However, the material absorption of the laser power and the aberrations of the laser light spot will introduce a decay in the polymerization degree along the height direction, and the solution to this problem has not been reported yet. In this paper, a compensation strategy for the laser power is proposed to achieve homogeneous and high aspect ratio hydrogel structures at the microscale along the out-of-plane direction. Linear approximations for the power decay curve are adopted for height steps, discretizing the final high aspect ratio structures. The strategy is achieved experimentally with hydrogel structures fabricated by two-photon polymerization. Moreover, characterizations have been conducted to verify the homogeneity of the printed microstructures. Finally, the saturation of material property is investigated by an indirect 3D deformation method. The proposed strategy is proved to be effective and can be explored for other hydrogel materials showing significant deformation. Furthermore, the strategy for out-of-plane variations provides a critical technique to achieve 4D-printed homogeneous shape-adaptive hydrogels for further applications. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  5. This paper presents an absolute phase unwrapping method for high-speed three-dimensional (3D) shape measurement. This method uses three phase-shifted patterns and one binary random pattern on a single-camera, single-projector structured light system. We calculate the wrapped phase from phase-shifted images and determine the coarse correspondence through the digital image correlation (DIC) between the captured binary random pattern of the object and the pre-captured binary random pattern of a flat surface. We then developed a computational framework to determine fringe order number pixel by pixel using the coarse correspondence information. Since only one additional pattern is used, the proposed method can be used for high-speed 3D shape measurement. Experimental results successfully demonstrated that the proposed method can achieve high-speed and high-quality measurement of complex scenes.

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  6. Zhang, Song ; Harding, Kevin G. ; Li, Beiwen ; Hyun, Jae-Sang (Ed.)
  7. This paper presents a calibration method for a microscopic structured light system with an extended depth of field (DOF). We first employed the focal sweep technique to achieve large enough depth measurement range, and then developed a computational framework to alleviate the impact of phase errors caused by the standard off-the-shelf calibration target (black circles with a white background). Specifically, we developed a polynomial interpolation algorithm to correct phase errors near the black circles to obtain more accurate phase maps for projector feature points determination. Experimental results indicate that the proposed method can achieve a measurement accuracy of approximately 1.0 μ m for a measurement volume of approximately 2,500 μ m (W) × 2,000 μ m (H) × 500 μ m (D). 
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