Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bio-inspired microlens arrays

06.03.2012
The University of Konstanz, the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and two Korean institutes develop a natural process for the synthesis of microlens arrays

The development of highly complex microlens arrays via the natural way and with remarkably simple components: Chemists of the University of Konstanz and the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have developed a process which highly simplifies the production of microlens arrays. Based on calcium carbonate (chalk), the researchers generate naturally grown surface layers with an ordered position of micrometer sized half spherical chalk lenses.

So far, micro lens arrays could only be generated with a sophisticated lithographic process on basis of plastics. The development of the new synthesis process was achieved in cooperation with the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and the South Korean university KAIST.

For the generation of the optically fully functional microlens arrays, the researchers exclusively need a saturated calcium solution, carbon dioxide from air and a broadly available surfactant (a soap molecule), which regulates the formation of the microlens structure. The process is by far more cost effective and simple than existing production methods. „It is remarkable that structure formation occurs by itself in water at room temperature – completely similar to the archetype Nature. This is an example for the successful application of biological principles for the generation of advanced optical elements completely without use of energy or toxic chemicals“, summarises Konstanz chemist Prof. Dr. Helmut Cölfen the advantages. The new process in which the micro lens arrays equally “grow” in a natural way was developed starting from a natural archetype: The so-called brittlestar, a relative of the starfish, uses a chalk microlens array on its skin to change colour according to the lighting conditions.

A microlens array is an optical field with a large number of micrometer sized miniature lenses placed closely together. Microlens arrays are applied for miniaturisation of optical systems, focussing of light with a precision of a millionth meter and to work with very small wavelengths. Amongst other applications, microlens arrays are applied for cell phone cameras but also in medical technology. The new process is also suitable to generate anti-reflex coatings, which are for example known from eyeglasses. Further advantages of the new method are that the chalk lens systems have shorter focal lengths compared to the so far exisiting plastic lens arrays and that the lens systems can be transferred to other surfaces by a simple dip coating. Furthermore, living cells like the microlens surface which enables future biomedical research combined with optics.

„It is truly remarkable how simple the generation of the microlens arrays is: All applied materials are common and biocompatible chemicals, energy supply is not necessary. The reaction takes place at room temperature in water according to a principle which Nature uses for Biominerals“, explains Helmut Cölfen. „Beside all these technical advantages, the amazing fact that such highly complex structures like a microlens array can be generated using comparatively simple molecules makes this process highly interesting for the scientist“, Cölfen outlines further perspectives for science.

http://www.pi.uni-konstanz.de/2012/031.jpg
"Microlens array based on chalk"
Kyu-Bock Lee, Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
Contact:
University of Konstanz
Communications and Marketing
Phone: ++49 7531 / 88-3603
E-Mail: kum@uni-konstanz.de
Prof. Dr. Helmut Cölfen
University of Konstanz
Physical Chemistry
Universitätsstraße 10
78464 Konstanz, Germany
Phone: ++49 7531 / 88-4063
E-Mail: Helmut.Coelfen@uni-konstanz.de

Julia Wandt | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-konstanz.de
http://cms.uni-konstanz.de/coelfen

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht On Mars, sands shift to a different drum
24.05.2019 | University of Arizona

nachricht New Boost for ToCoTronics
23.05.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New system by TU Graz automatically recognises pedestrians’ intent to cross the road

27.05.2019 | Information Technology

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>