Inexpensive high quality lenses have been developed by researchers by hanging and curing droplets of a gel-like material. These lenses will cost less than a penny a piece.
Steve Lee, from the Research School of Engineering at Australian National University (ANU), said that what he was really thrilled about the fact that it will open up the lens fabrication technology.
Lee systematically tuned the curvature that was formed by a simple droplet with the help of gravity, and without any molds.
The high quality lens needs an oven, a microscope glass slide and a common, gel-like silicone polymer called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) where a small amount of PDMS is dropped onto the slide and is then baked at 70 degrees Celsius to harden it, that will create a base.
The researchers have made lenses about a few millimeters thick with a magnification power of 160 times and a resolution of about 4 microns (millionths of a meter) and they have also built a lens attachment that turns a smartphone camera into a dermascope, a tool to diagnose skin diseases like melanoma and they can also be used in a 3D print attachment.
Lee said that that the lenses could be used in the lab as implantable lenses, which the biologists could use to study cells in vivo and the high cost of conventional lenses usually discouraged the scientists from implanting them into mice.
The study was published in journal Biomedical Optics Express.