3D-printed microscope can be created for as little as $2

A high powered lens that can be made at home and cost less than a cent is all set to transform your smart phone into a high-resolution microscope. It is a known scientific fact that a droplet of clear liquid can bend light, acting as a lens. Now, by exploiting this knowledge, researchers have developed a new process to create inexpensive high quality lenses that will cost less than a penny apiece. Because they’re so inexpensive, the lenses can be used in a variety of applications. 

A droplet of clear liquid can bend light, acting as a lens. Now, by exploiting this well-known phenomenon, researchers have developed a new process to create inexpensive high quality lenses that will cost less than a penny apiece. Because they’re so inexpensive, the lenses can be used in a variety of applications, including tools to detect diseases in the field, scientific research in the lab and optical lenses and microscopes for education in classrooms. “What I’m really excited about is that it opens up lens fabrication technology,” says Steve Lee from the Research School of Engineering at Australian National University (ANU) of the new technique, which he and his colleagues describe in a paper published today in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

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