Lens turns smartphone into a basic microscope for only 3 cents

Researchers have created an optical lens that can be placed on an inexpensive smartphone to magnify images by a magnitude of 120 times, all for just 3 cents a lens. It attaches directly to a smartphone camera lens, without the use of any additional device, which makes it ideal for use with younger students in the classroom.
It also could have clinical applications, allowing small or isolated clinics to share images with specialists located elsewhere, he said. The lens is made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a polymer with the consistency of honey, dropped precisely on a preheated surface to cure. Lens curvature, and therefore, magnification, depends on how long and at what temperature the PDMS is heated, Sung said.
The resulting lenses are flexible, similar to a soft contact lens, although they are thicker and slightly smaller. "Our lens can transform a smartphone camera into a microscope by simply attaching the lens without any supporting attachments or mechanism," the researchers wrote. "The strong, yet non-permanent adhesion between PDMS and glass allows the lens to be easily detached after use. An imaging resolution of 1 micrometer with an optical magnification of 120X has been achieved."