Special Issue on M4 Processes Micro/Meso Mechanical Manufacturing
Highly complex nonsilicon submillimeter microparts such as glass waveguides, microlens arrays and holographic optical elements are coming increasingly into demand. These microparts feature such divergent properties as high hardness, high brittleness and high melting point. Despite the introduction of special technologies such as lithography and components such as lasers and electron beams, these unique properties make them particularly difficult to machine – and this comes at a time when micro manufacturing must provide processes that are maximally effective and efficient while remaining minimally expensive at the same time. These requirements call for innovations in mechanical manufacturing technologies that enable them to realize microfabrication, and these in turn require the discovery and implementation of such new processing principles as M4 – micro/meso mechanical manufacturing. These techniques are now at the frontier of manufacturing technology. The objective of this special issue is to address the latest in research advances, practical and theoretical applications, and various case studies on M4 processes. The papers featured in this issue provide help in development of next-generation manufacturing technologies. We thank the authors for their invaluable contributions and the reviewers for their always useful advice, which make this special issue both fascinating and worthwhile.