Scientists seeking an inexpensive way to turn a cell phone into a high powered, high quality microscope that can be used to identify biological samples in the field, turned to a colleague at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA. Using a 3D printer and a small glass bead as a microscope lens, the PNNL team developed an inexpensive version that can magnify a sample by 1,000 times. For specific applications, lower magnifications are easily achievable, they say.
PNNL has made the design specifications available to the public, free of charge, so that anyone with access to a 3D printer can make their own microscope. The microscope slips over the camera lens of the cell phone and is no thicker than a phone case. It’s designed to fit several popular cell phone brands and tablets. The material cost, not including the printer, is less than $1 so, should the slip-on microscope get contaminated, throwing it away is no great loss. They also made a 350x version, which is adequate to identify parasites in a blood samples or protozoa in drinking water.
For more information, visit www.medicaldesignbriefs.com/component/content/article/1104-mdb/news/20629.