Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Seeing in stereo: Engineers invent lens for 3D microscope

Allen Yi
Allen Yi

Abstract:
Engineers at Ohio State University have invented a lens that enables microscopic objects to be seen from nine different angles at once to create a 3D image.

Seeing in stereo: Engineers invent lens for 3D microscope

Columbus, OH | Posted on March 28th, 2011

Other 3D microscopes use multiple lenses or cameras that move around an object; the new lens is the first single, stationary lens to create microscopic 3D images by itself.

Allen Yi, associate professor of integrated systems engineering at Ohio State, and postdoctoral researcher Lei Li described the lens in a recent issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America A.

Yi called the lens a proof of concept for manufacturers of microelectronics and medical devices, who currently use very complex machinery to view the tiny components that they assemble.

Though the engineers milled their prototype thermoplastic lens on a precision cutting machine, the same lens could be manufactured less expensively through traditional molding techniques, Yi said.

"Ultimately, we hope to help manufacturers reduce the number and sizes of equipment they need to miniaturize products," he added.

The prototype lens, which is about the size of a fingernail, looks at first glance like a gem cut for a ring, with a flat top surrounded by eight facets. But while gemstones are cut for symmetry, this lens is not symmetric. The sizes and angles of the facets vary in minute ways that are hard to see with the naked eye.

"No matter which direction you look at this lens, you see a different shape," Yi explained. Such a lens is called a "freeform lens," a type of freeform optics.

Freeform optics have been in use for more than a decade. But Lei Li was able to write a computer program to design a freeform lens capable of imaging microscopic objects.

Then Yi and Li used a commercially available milling tool with a diamond blade to cut the shape from a piece of the common thermoplastic material polymethyl methacrylate, a transparent plastic that is sometimes called acrylic glass. The machine shaved bits of plastic from the lens in increments of 10 nanometers, or 10 billionths of a meter - a distance about 5,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

The final lens resembled a rhinestone, with a faceted top and a wide, flat bottom. They installed the lens on a microscope with a camera looking down through the faceted side, and centered tiny objects beneath the flat side.

Each facet captured an image of the objects from a different angle, which can be combined on a computer into a 3D image.

The engineers successfully recorded 3D images of the tip of a ballpoint pen - which has a diameter of about 1 millimeter - and a mini drill bit with a diameter of 0.2 millimeters.

"Using our lens is basically like putting several microscopes into one microscope," said Li. "For us, the most attractive part of this project is we will be able to see the real shape of micro-samples instead of just a two-dimensional projection."

In the future, Yi would like to develop the technology for manufacturers. He pointed to the medical testing industry, which is working to shrink devices that analyze fluid samples. Cutting tiny reservoirs and channels in plastic requires a clear view, and the depths must be carved with precision.

Computer-controlled machines - rather than humans - do the carving, and Yi says that the new lens can be placed in front of equipment that is already in use. It can also simplify the design of future machine vision equipment, since multiple lenses or moving cameras would no longer be necessary.

Other devices could use the tiny lens, and he and Li have since produced a grid-shaped array of lenses made to fit an optical sensor. Another dome-shaped lens is actually made of more than 1,000 tiny lenses, similar in appearance to an insect's eye.

This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Moore Nanotechnology Systems in Keene, NH, provided the ultraprecision milling machine.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Allen Yi
(614) 292-9984


Written by
Pam Frost Gorder
(614) 292-9485

Copyright © Ohio State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th September 18th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Imaging

New NPZ100-403 Piezo Stage from nPoint Inc. September 17th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Scientists refine formula for nanotube types: Rice University theorists determine factors that give tubes their chiral angles September 17th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 2014

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Rice University lab refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass September 16th, 2014

Discoveries

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th September 18th, 2014

Scientists refine formula for nanotube types: Rice University theorists determine factors that give tubes their chiral angles September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 2014

Announcements

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th September 18th, 2014

Scientists refine formula for nanotube types: Rice University theorists determine factors that give tubes their chiral angles September 17th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Tools

New NPZ100-403 Piezo Stage from nPoint Inc. September 17th, 2014

Advanced Light Source Sets Microscopy Record| Berkeley Lab Researchers Achieve Highest Resolution Ever with X-ray Microscopy September 11th, 2014

Researchers Create World’s Largest DNA Origami September 11th, 2014

Development of Algorithm for Accurate Calculation of Average Distance Travelled by Low-Speed Electrons without Energy Loss that Are Sensitive to Surface Structure September 11th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE