From phone to microscope
By Lynnette Hoffman
Australian scientists have discovered a way to make a smartphone microscope using a drop of polymer baked in the oven.
Normally, lenses must be ground and polished, but biomedical engineer Steve Lee of the Australian National University has found a much simpler, cheaper method.
“We put a droplet of polymer onto a microscope cover slip and then invert it. Then we let gravity do the work,” Steve says.
The perfect curved shape forms naturally, and each lens costs less than one cent.
Steve and his colleague Tri Phan from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney made a 3D-printable frame to hold the lens, along with tiny lights and battery.
The makeshift microscope can magnify up to 160 times.
Steve says it will be helpful in developing countries: “It will enable health workers to take images at remote sites and transfer them to the internet for doctors elsewhere.”
Author: STEM Contributor
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