First 3D Printed Human-Hair-Size Lens
In a paper published in Nature Photonics this June 27, 2016, Dr Timo Gissibl from Stuttgart University (Germany) and colleagues explain how they 3D printed a triple lens optical head directly on top of a optical fiber two times the size of a human hair. The lens and its optical fibre are thin enough to fit in the hollow of a syringe.
Reinventing the Medical camera
Dr Gissibl and colleagues wrote: 'Current lens systems are restricted in size, shape and dimensions by limitations of manufacturing. 'Multi-lens elements with non-spherical shapes are required for high optical performance and to correct for aberrations when imaging at wide angles and large fields. 'Here, we present a novel concept in optics that…opens the new field of 3D printed micro- and nano-optics with complex lens designs.'
In tests they showed that objects 3 mm from the lens were successfully reproduced at the other end of a 1.7 metre (five-and-a-half foot) long tube, meaning it could effectively reinvent medical cameras used in internal examinations and operations.
Read the full "Two-photon direct laser writing of ultracompact multi-lens objectives" paper in Nature Photonics (subscription required). Also of interest is "Sub-micrometre accurate free-form optics by three-dimensional printing on single-mode fibres" in Nature Communications (free access).