Tiny camera can take photos inside the body. This groundbreaking development from a team of researchers at the University of Stuttgart can be injected into the body using a syringe. This new system comes as a less invasive way to get inside the body to take photographs of organs and tissue. This new technology can now be used as non-intrusive endoscopes to explore the insides of the human body.
The team from the German university developed this three-lens camera with a brand new 3D printing technique. Scientists state that this new method paves the way towards non-medical systems as well. It could be used to develop miniature optical instruments such as drones, new illumination systems, robots with autonomous visions, and more.
The microscopic camera can be injected into the body using a cannula with a diameter of 412 μm, and then the tiny camera can take photos inside the body. The lens is about 100 μm wide and 120 μm with the casing. It can focus on objects from a distance of only 3 mm.
The device uses aspheric surfaces to compensate for optical aberrations, improving the quality of image for each surface. An additional anti-reflecting coating reduces stray light, further improving the contrast and efficiency of the picture. The performance is also enhanced by optimizing the contour accuracy. Any errors in fabrication can be reduced by using suitable polymers to minimize the shrinkage of the photoresists.
The camera allows for resolutions of up to 500 lp mm-1. The tiny camera can take photos inside the body without being invasive. “Endoscopic applications will allow for non-invasive and non-destructive examination of small objects in the medical as well as the industrial sector,” the team states.
Using this method, called “femtosecond direct laser writing”, new optical hybrid systems can be manufactured. Thus, it allows for a new generation of compact optical elements to be used in medicine, biotechnology, but also in safety or security monitoring.
Researchers say that the whole process of designing, building, and testing the new tiny optical system took only a few hours. The technology is not yet fully ready, but the scientists are making progress. They have already explained the process, the manufacturing stages, as well as provide sample images.
A paper on the study was published June 27 in the online journal Nature Photonics.
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