We are living through challenging times. A global pandemic has forced us to adapt to new ways of living, working, relating, teaching, and conducting research. Our micro-manufacturing community is presented with unique challenges during this crisis since the majority of our research relies heavily on experiments conducted in the labs and access to research infrastructure has been severely limited and in-person lab work has been curtailed or stopped altogether for a significant period. Similarly, in manufacturing education due to health concerns, most of the in-person classes have transferred to a remote mode of teaching that very few of us had previous experience with.
The extended duration of the undergoing emergency has transformed some of the approaches that were initially thought of as quick workarounds and temporary solutions into more durable methodologies for manufacturing research and education that are here to stay (possibly in somewhat modified form) in the upcoming years even when the health crisis will pass.
The micro-manufacturing community has been active during this fraught period in looking for new solutions to challenging manufacturing issues. Due to limitations to in-person experimental science, many of the research approaches rely more heavily on theoretical methodologies and simulation of manufacturing procedures. At the same time, challenges of remote operations, automation, optical recognition, implementation of artificial intelligence in manufacturing processes were required in many cases to continue experimental work. These emerging tools, equipment, and methods will advance our science and will continue to exist side by side with more traditional approaches to achieve superior results in micro- and nano-manufacturing.
This Special Issue of the ASME Journal of Micro- and Nano-Manufacturing is devoted to Remote Micro- and Nano-Manufacturing Science, Engineering, and Education. The special issue contains a representative collection of research works on a wide range of subjects covering areas from biomedical applications and surface functionalization to hybrid process chains and the use of artificial intelligence techniques. Opinion pieces are included as well, and they present reflections on the effects of the pandemic on the micro-manufacturing research and education in the USA and on the shift from “in-person” to “online” instruction mode of project-based teaching of manufacturing.
The Guest Editors would like to thank the Authors for their prompt efforts in preparing their papers, as well as all the Reviewers for their assistance. We also thank the ASME Journal of Micro- and Nano-Manufacturing Editor, the Editorial Office, and the ASME Production Team.
We hope that our readers will find the subjects and topics discussed in this collection to be useful and thought-provoking.