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MIT Develops 'Microlenses' Made From Water Droplets That Could Magnify Things

First Posted: Mar 15, 2017 04:59 AM EDT
Scientists Make Microscopes From Droplets
Scientists from MIT developed the tiny microlenses that are made from water droplets.
(Photo : Rajamanickam Antonimuthu/YouTube screenshot)

The researchers from MIT have created the "microlenses," which are made from liquid droplets that could magnify and produce mirages of nearby things. The droplet is minute in size and likened to the width of a human hair.

The findings of the discovery were described in the journal Nature Communications this week. The "microlenses" are just like microscopes, yet they are made from liquid droplets. The droplet comprises of a blending of two liquids, in which one is compressed in the other just like the bead of oil in a drop of water, according to Phys.org.

Mathias Kolle, one of the researchers and the Brit and Alex d'Arbeloff Career Development Assistant Professor in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, has described fluids as very adaptable optically. He further said that they developed complex geometries from lenses, and these lenses can be tuned optically. He added that once one had tunable microlens he can dream up all sorts of applications.

So, how does it work? The "microlenses" could expand the images of the neighboring objects. The properties of droplet could also be reconfigured in the way it filters, absorbs and reflects the light. This is just like how a microscope lens can be attuned to aim at the target, as per Gineers Now.

The newly developed "microlenses" could be applied to liquid pixels in a three-dimensional display. The microlenses could point the light to designated angles accurately and launch changing images depending on the angle from which they are perceived.

 One example of this is imaging a sample of blood and passing it on the tiny droplets. The droplets would then take images from different angles that could be applied to mend a three-dimensional image of each blood cell. Kolle said that they hope they can use the imaging capacity of lenses on the microscale combined with the dynamically adjustable optical characteristics of complex fluid-based microlenses to do imaging in a way people have not done yet.

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