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Fabricating low cost and high performance elastomer lenses using hanging droplets

Abstract

Existing methods for low cost lenses using parallel mold stamping and high temperature reflow requires complex engineering controls to produce high quality lenses. These manufacturing techniques rely on expensive equipment. In this paper, we propose a low cost (< $ 0.01 per pc) flexible moldless lens fabrication method based on curing a hanging transparent polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer droplet on a curved substrate. Additional deposition of hanging droplets in the same manner led to a substantial increase in the lens curvature and concomitant decrease in the focal length of the PDMS lenses down to ~2 mm. The shortest focal length lenses were shown to collimate light from a bare light emitting diode (LED) and image microscopic structures down to around 4 microm with 160x magnification. Our hanging droplet lens fabrication technique heralds a new paradigm in the manufacture of low cost, high performance optical lenses for the masses. Using these lenses, we were able to transform an ordinary commercial smartphone camera into a low-cost digital dermascope (60x magnification) that can readily visualize microscopic structures on skin such as sweat pores.

Type Journal
Authors Lee, W. M.; Upadhya, A.; Reece, P. J.; Phan, T. G.
Garvan Authors A/Prof Tri Phan
Publisher Name Biomedical optics express
Published Date 2014-05-01 00:00:00
Published Volume 5
Published Issue 5
Published Pages 1626-35
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24877020
Status Published in-print