It’s no easy task to take a look at how the human body works and this usually requires invasive measures but with the progress of science it is possible to make this venture as comfortable as it can be made. Keeping this ideology in mind researchers from Germany have come up with an intricate lens system which measures to a grain of salt in size and can be injected into the patient via syringe.
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The three-lens camera was constructed through a new 3D printing technique by scientists at the University of Stuttgart. The new take on 3D printing allows for sub micrometer accuracy. This level of accuracy enables the printing of an optical lens system with 2 or more lens in one go. This new lens will enable sharper image quality due its ability to correct for aberrations.
The process of constructing the lens first included the use of a femtosecond laser which had a pulse run for shorter than 100 femtoseconds to be then passed through a light sensitive material on a glass substrate. The material then absorbs the two photons released by the substrate which exposes and crosslinks the polymers inside.
The unexposed material is then discarded by washing it with a solvent, and the remaining hardened cross-linked polymer is then formed into the optical element. The approach helped print imaging components which measure 125 micrometers in diameter and height which can be used for microscopes. They later attached these imaging components to a 5.6ft optical fiber as wide as 2 human hairs.
The camera can focus up to 3 mm in distance. The entire system can fit inside a syringe which allows for a direct and an up-close look at the body part that is to be observed. To show other uses of the lens the team integrated in within a CMOS image chip to demonstrate how it can be used as a minuscule sensor.
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The lens can be extended to drones no bigger than bees and a wide variety of other uses including autonomous cars. Professor Harald Giessen, from the University of Stuttgart's 4th Physics Institute has the following to say about the new invention "The time from the idea, the optics design, a CAD model, to the finished, 3D-printed micro-objectives is going to be less than a day, we are going to open potentials just like computer-aided design and computer-integrated manufacturing did in mechanical engineering a few years ago."