Being the earliest form of additive manufacturing, stereolithography (SLA) fabricates 3D objects by selectively solidifying the liquid resin through a photopolymerization reaction. The ability to fabricate objects with high accuracy as well as a wide variety of materials brings much attention to stereolithography. Since its invention in the 1980s, SLA underwent four generations of major technological innovation over the past 40 years. These innovations have thus resulted in a diversified range of stereolithography systems with dramatically improved resolution, throughput, and materials selection for creating complex 3D objects and devices. In this paper, we review the four generations of stereolithography processes, which are scanning, projection, continuous and volumetric stereolithography. For each generation, representative stereolithography system configurations are also discussed in detail. In addition, other derivative technologies, such as scanning–projection, multi-material, and magnetically assisted stereolithography processes, are also included in this review.
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