Researchers from Washington State University and Ohio State University have developed a low-cost, easy-to-use lens that could help avoid the expensive molds required for optical manufacturing.
Led by Lei Li, associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and graduate student, Mojtaba Falahati, who researches how to use a magnet in a variety of shapes and sizes , Their work is featured on the cover of the journal, Applied Physics Letters .
High-quality lenses are increasingly used in everything from cameras to self-driving cars, and virtually all robotics, but the traditional Molding and casting processes used in their manufacturing require sophisticated and expensive metal molds. So, manufacturers are mostly limited to producing one kind of lens.
"The molds are precisely finished and are difficult to make," Li said. "It's not worthwhile to make a mold for low-volume production."
The researchers first attempted to make their own lenses using a 3-D printer but found it difficult to control them the lens shape.
They put tiny particles into liquid droplets and put them in a device to surround the droplets with magnets. They then poured the plastic material into lenses over the droplet. As they applied a magnetic field, the droplet took on a conical lens. Once they have cured the plastic, it has hardened and has become the same optical properties and imaging quality. The liquid droplet remains separate and can be re-used.
The magnet can be moved to the magnetic field, the shape of the mold, and the resulting lens.
"We brought the concept of interfacial tension to the field of optics by introducing an innovative controllable liquid mold," said Li regulate the shape of a magnetic drop and create lenses without having to fabricate expensive molds. "
Bake your own droplet lens
Mojtaba Falahati et al., Fabrication of magnetic lenses using magnetic liquid molds, Applied Physics Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1063 / 1.5090511
Researchers develop new lens manufacturing technique (2019, May 20)
retrieved 20 May 2019
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