Team of Australian researchers have developed a 3D-printed clip-on, which can be mounted on smartphone to visualize biological specimens as tiny as 1/200th of a millimeter.
Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide have developed powerful microscope, which utilizes printed 3D clips and can be operated through smartphone. This device does not require external light source for visualizing images. The study was published in journal Scientific Reports on February 22, 2018.
The device can visualize specimens such as microscopic organisms, animal and plant cells, blood cells, and cell nuclei with accuracy. The printed clip has internal illumination tunnels that can use flashlight of camera to illuminate the sample from behind. This feature is updated version of smartphone-based microscopes, which are operated on LED lights and external power sources. Conventional microscopes are hard to assemble and have complex mode of operation. This new device is lightweight and can be assembled in real-time.
“We have designed a simple mobile phone microscope that takes advantage of the integrated illumination available with nearly all smartphone cameras,” said Dr Anthony Orth, lead developer of device. “Our mobile microscope can be used as an inexpensive and portable tool for all types of onsite or remote-area monitoring,” he added.
The microscope is assembled with 3D printers without requirement of external light or power source. It allows close visualization of sample with dark field microscopy. Researchers believe that this device could have applications in research laboratories of various emerging countries. It can be used to determine water quality and analyze blood samples for parasites for early diagnosis of disease.