Smartphone Microscope

Background

To build a microscope need a lens or microscope objective and it could be expensive depending on magnification. Dr. Steve Lee from Australian National University pioneered a new inexpensive method for making microscope lenses using PDMS (silicone) droplets for smartphones. By placing small drops of PDMS one at a time on a microscope slide and baking them inverted a lens is formed in the shape of a parabola. The researchers made lenses about a few millimeters thick with a magnification power of 160 times and a resolution of about 4 microns!

Smartphone with droplet lens

Figure 1. Smartphone with droplet lens

With this new method of creating microscope lenses, microscopy becomes more accessible all around the world. The lens’ functionality and compatibility with a common smartphone camera allows medical specialists to utilize a phone as a microscope with increased portability.

Project Description

In this project you can create lenses with different magnification and resolution. Using your own built smartphone microscope, you can observe a lot of different things: from crystals and cells to microorganism in a drop of pond water. The world is an interesting place, but it's fascinating under the microscope.

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